5 Colum. J. Eur. L. 141 (1998)
Eva Brems. Fellow, Foundation for Scientific Research-Flanders, Institute for Human Rights, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
Equal treatment of men and women; Refusal of travel concessions to cohabitees of the same sex
Facts and Procedure
South-West Trains, a railway company, employs Lisa Grant (Grant). According to the terms of her contract, she has a right to free and reduced rate travel concessions for herself, spouse and dependents. South-West’s Staff Travel Facilities Privilege Ticket Regulations specify that the term “spouse” encompasses the legal spouse of a married employee as well as a “common law opposite sex spouse of staff subject to a statutory declaration being made that a meaningful relationship has existed for a period of two years or more.” When Grant applied for travel concessions for her female partner, with whom she declared a meaningful relationship for more than two years, it was refused on the ground that unmarried persons could only be granted travel concessions for a partner of the opposite sex. Grant challenged this decision before the Southampton Industrial Tribunal, arguing discrimination based on sex contrary to UK legislation and to Article 119 of the EC Treaty and/or Directive 76/207.3 The Industrial Tribunal referred the issue to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.