Thursday 16th December 2021
The Appellant/Claimant) appeals against an order made by the Employment Appeal Tribunal allowing the appeal by Moore Stephens LLP and remitting the matter to the same ET to determine whether to extend time for presentation of the claim forms.
The background is that the Claimant/Appellant was a equity partner of R1, firm of accountants. The members’ agreement provided for all partners to have a normal retirement age of 60 but with R1 having discretion to extend beyond that time in event of business need.
C wished to stay on after his normal retirement date of 30/4/18. In Oct 2017, R1 decided that C should continue for two years beyond his normal retirement date but only as an ordinary (ie non-equity) partner.
In Sept 2018, C learned of proposals to sell R1’s business. In Dec 2018 he was informed that he was not entitled, as a non-equity partner, to a share in the proceeds of sale.
In Jan 2019, the C brought a claim for direct age discrimination in the ET, alleging losses including in relation to the proceeds of sale of R1’s business.
At a preliminary hearing, the ET held that the C’s claim was in relation to a rule which had resulted in his demotion from equity partner to ordinary partner and was conduct extending over a period, which was continuing at date of presentation of the claim, so that it had been brought within statutory time limit set out in s.123 of Equality Act 2010.
The Rs appealed, contending that the claim was about the continuing consequences of a one-off act (ie the change of the C’s status from equity partner to ordinary partner) and was not in respect of the continuing operation of a discriminatory rule or practice.
The EAT allowed Rs’ appeal, holding that the ET had erred in finding that the claim was in respect of conduct over a period, because the act of which complaint was made was the one-off exercise of the discretion to continue C’s membership of the LLP after his normal retirement date on inferior terms and the resulting change to C’s status, and not the continuing application of a discriminatory rule or policy.