Following pressure from human rights campaign group Liberty, Foster Wheeler Energy, a multi-national company, is reported to have agreed to give civil partners of its employees the same pension benefits as spouses.
An exemption in the Equality Act 2010 allows schemes to exclude surviving civil partners in respect of pension rights accrued before 5 December 2005. Liberty argued the former policy contravenes both European Law and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Despite agreeing to amend its scheme, Foster Wheeler maintains that the old terms were not unlawful. A hearing is due to take place in Reading Employment Tribunal in January 2012 to determine whether the original pension scheme rules unlawfully discriminated against the couple on grounds of their sexual orientation.