The Department for Work and Pensions is consulting on a proposed amendment to sexual equality regulations which will ban employers from discriminating against the partner of an employee who is in a same-sex relationship.
The government is seeking views on the drafting of amendments to the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, which outlaw discrimination in employment and vocational training on grounds of sexual orientation.
The DTI is seeking to make the amendment to take account of the recognition of civil partnerships, which will come into force on 5 December.
The effect will be to enable a civil partner who is treated less favourably than a married person in similar circumstances to bring a claim for discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation under the Sexual Orientation Regulations.
By way of defence, an alleged discriminator would have to show that the married person and the civil partner were not in a comparable position for some other reason, or that being heterosexual was a genuine occupational requirement.