When it comes to discrimination in the workplace, it is important to note that partners are treated differently to employees. This is not to say that partners are unprotected by discrimination law, but it is important to note the areas in which these laws differ before bringing any discrimination claims in the context of a partnership.
One potential and common reason for discrimination in a partnership, is age. The case of Seldon v Clarkson, Wright and Jakes has become something of a defining case on this subject.
In the past, many companies set a default partner retirement age, usually at the age of 65. However, if you are now considering implementing a compulsory retirement age this should be supplemented by evidence that it is a proportionate means of fulfilling an objective and reasonable legitimate aim.
The case of Seldon v Clarkson, Wright and Jakes brought this issue to the fore. When Mr Seldon reached the end of the year in which he turned 65, he was given his notice and required to vacate his position. Subsequent attempts to be allowed to stay on a self-employed basis failed, and an age discrimination case ensued.
Mr Seldon’s case was rejected by an employment tribunal and the Supreme Court, but a number of complicated issues surrounded the case. The two main ‘legitimate aims’ were said to be related to creating space for younger workers to gain employment within a company and, more controversially, removing the need to dismiss older workers as a result of declining performance.
The latter issue is cause for debate, as it appears to set an arbitrary point at which performance begins to drop. This complex case has brought the issue of partnership age discrimination to the fore, ensuring partners treat the issue seriously.
Ask Ralli about partnership discrimination
There are many other ways in which discrimination cases could potentially arise within partnerships, and with so many factors to consider in each case it is vital to get accurate advice from experienced partnership law solicitors.
The team at Ralli have been successful in a wide variety of partnership discrimination cases, while they can also advise on other matters such as suspending a partner, removing a partner, partnership dissolution and converting to LLP.