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Cover Employment Law

17. Sex-related characteristics (gender reassignment, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation)  

This chapter discusses the law on discrimination due to the protected characteristics of gender reassignment, marital status and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity. The Sex Discrimination Act as originally drafted only prohibited discrimination on grounds of sex and marital status. However, civil partners are now treated in the same way as married people. Transgender people, who live as someone of the opposite gender, are protected from discrimination. They can also change their birth certificates so that their new gender is reflected there. Pregnant women have a right not to be discriminated against, and this is a free-standing right. People are entitled not to be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. The prohibition against sex discrimination covers heterosexuals as well as homosexual people.