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Hawkins v (1) Atex Group Ltd (2) Age Korsvold (3) Malo de Molina (4) Reardon - Marriage, close relationships, and discrimination [2012] EAT

Protection against discrimination on the grounds of being married or being in a civil partnership does not extend to cover any other form of "close relationship" (such as so-called "common law spouses"). Therefore, If detrimental treatment is suffered due to the specific identity of a Claimant's spouse, it is only unlawful discrimination if it occurs because they are married to that person, and not just because they are in a close relationship with them.  

Mr Hawkins, chief executive of Atex Group Ltd, recruited his wife as Corporate Marketing Director (she had previously provided services on a consultancy basis) and his daughter as Global Human Resources manager. It was Atex's case that Mr Hawkins had been expressly instructed not to recruit any family members because of concerns about nepotism. Following a disciplinary procedure, Mr Hawkins, his wife and daughter were all dismissed.

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