When your love life costs you your job

Words by Howards People & Safety Management Words by Howards People & Safety Management

February, the month of love, when the shops are bursting with red valentines cards everywhere you look, and if you are fortunate to have a love one in your life and go on to get married, then is that of any relevance to a prospective employer?

As an employer you may well have been involved directly in recruitment processes, and therefore are hopefully aware that you should only ask the candidate questions which are relevant to the vacancy. Irrelevant questions therefore regarding the applicants home life are best avoided so as not to be held accountable for a discrimination claim being brought against you.

Reverend Pemberton, an ordained Church of England priest, was therefore probably very shocked when he learnt that the reason he could not secure the offer of employment for a position as Chaplain at an NHS trust, was because the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, refused to give the necessary practising licence required for the role, on the grounds that Reverend Pemberton had entered into a same-sex marriage, which was inconsistent with the Church's teaching on marriage.

The Employment Appeal tribunal has held that whilst the Bishops actions were on the face of it discriminatory, he had not however contravened the Equality Act because his reasons fell within one of the exceptions, namely that the requirement not to be married to a person of the same sex had been applied to the Claimant so as to comply with the doctrines of the Church of England. Permission has however been granted to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Whilst this case demonstrates that there may be exceptions in place to successfully defend a claim for discrimination, that said the safest approach for your business still remains to tread with caution at all times, it is still best practice to treat employees and prospective employees equally at all times.

For any further advice on how to address problems at work, then just give Howarths a call and one of our specialist and legally qualified team will be happy to discuss. Telephone 01274 864999 and speak to Andrea or e mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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