Thanks to Sophie Beesley of Old Square Chambers for preparing this case summary
Can a limited company, as a member of a Limited Liability Partnership, bring a direct discrimination claim for detrimental treatment because of the protected characteristic of an associated person?
Yes, held the EAT in EAD Solicitors v Abrams.
Mr Justice Langstaff rejected the argument that only an individual can be protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 because only an individual can have a protected characteristic.
Rather, Langstaff P upheld the employment tribunal's decision that, just as a corporation can be a discriminator (described in the Act as a 'person'), so too can it be a person on the receiving end of mistreatment. There was no reason to restrict the meaning of person in s.13(1) to an individual. The term, consistent with the definition in the Interpretation Act 1978, could cover both an individual and a corporation.
Consistent with case law, the treatment complained of must be linked to the protected characteristic of an individual, but the treatment can be given to any person, natural or legal; there is no requirement that the person with the protected characteristic is the same person who suffers the detriment.