Whose business?

Financially speaking or employment wise, Elton John and his partner David Furnish probably do not represent the average same-sex couple – or an average couple of any kind, for that matter. When the Civil Partnership Act 2004 takes effect in December, the flamboyant entertainer and his long-time love will no doubt have sorted their pension arrangements eons ago, and a UK work permit has not been an issue for Furnish for some time, if ever it was.

However, they expect to be one of the first same-sex couples to have their relationship formally recognised as a civil partnership, and as such, they represent the aspirations, hopes and dreams of many throughout the country. The Act is one instance in which an employee’s personal life becomes an employer’s business, ranging from areas such as benefits to equal treatment in the workplace, from job perks to simply ensuring that an employee’s same-sex partner feels welcome at the company’s annual party. Be prepared, with advice from Speechly Bircham’s Anne-Marie Balfour and Joan Desmond. Their instructive guidance is on p16.

Is political debate heating up the environment in your office, with the just-held general election? Before entering the fray, consider the practical approach offered by Charles Russell’s Sophie Whitbread on p19, and hang on to it for years to come.

With the recent imposition of fines on bar staff who serve already drunk customers, employers in the hospitality industry have a new headache to contend with – in terms of employee and customer relations. For guidance on how to proceed, see barometer on p6 and Roger Byard’s incisive analysis on p8.

If your HR department is looking for initial guidance on a particular employment law issue, let us hear from you at elaw.editor@rbi.co.uk

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