In EAD Solicitors LLP v Abrams UKEAT/0054/15/DM, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether an age discrimination claim could be brought by a company rather than an individual.
Mr Abrams was a member of a partnership (LLP). For tax reasons, he set up a limited company as he approached retirement. He was due to retire at 62. His company took his place as a member of the LLP, and the company received the same profit share in the LLP as Mr Abrams had previously received, in return for Mr Abrams providing services to the LLP via the company. When Mr Abrams reached the age of 62, the LLP objected to his company continuing as a member. Mr Abrams brought an age discrimination claim on behalf of himself and his company. The first question was whether a company could bring such a claim. Although the EAT accepted that only an individual can possess the characteristics protected by discrimination legislation, it said that discrimination was detrimental treatment either caused by a protected characteristic or related to it. As such, discrimination could be suffered “by association” by either an individual or a company. It was therefore possible for a company to bring a discrimination claim.
This case represents an important development in discrimination law, and it will be interesting to see how it develops in practice. For example, could a company also claim an award for injury to feelings or aggravated damages? We will keep you posted on developments.