Companies have feelings too

11 November 2015

The EAD Solicitors v Abrams provides an interesting take on the concept of associative discrimination.

EAD Solicitors v Abrams

An interesting take on the concept of associative discrimination.

Mr Abrams was a member of a limited liability company and was due to retire at 62. He set up a limited company (he was the sole director) which then took his place in the LLP. The limited company was entitled to the profit share that Mr Abrams would have received directly, had he still been a member of the LLP. The company agreed to provide services of an appropriate fee-earner to the LLP.

The LLP didn’t want Mr Abrams to do the work after the time at which he’d normally have retired. On its face, age discrimination. But could the limited company claim discrimination on the basis of detrimental treatment because of its association with someone who had a protected characteristic?

Yes, said the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It’s not just individuals that are protected under the Equality Act. The law is about discrimination by one person against another person – and ‘person’ includes a limited company. As associative discrimination is well established when it comes to individuals’ claims, companies may also be protected.

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