In the case of Garry Abrams Limited v EAD Solicitors, Mr Abrams set up and was the sole proprietor of Garry Abrams Limited, but worked full time for EAD Solicitors. Mr Abrams' limited company was a member of EAD's limited liability partnership (LLP). A clause in the partnership agreement stated that "every member shall retire at the end of the LLP year during which he shall attain the age of 62 years". When Mr Abrams turned 62, he was required by EAD Solicitors to stop working and it ceased to pay his limited company any further share of the profits.
Mr Abrams claimed that his company had suffered a detriment due to its association with him. He argued that under Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010, a company can suffer "unlawful direct associative discrimination".
The EAT held that nothing in the Equality Act 2010 prevents a company from bringing such a claim. Although it was acknowledged that this was an unusual case, the EAT decided that there was no reason in principle why a natural person is any differently placed from a corporate body to complain about adverse treatment which has been suffered because of a protected characteristic of a third party, in this case, the age of Garry Abrams. The EAT went on to state that the word "person" throughout the Equality Act 2010, should be treated as meaning natural or legal persons.
Although the circumstances of this case are quite exceptional, this is a ground-breaking decision which could lead to claims for unlawful discrimination being brought on behalf of companies in the future.