British businesses could soon be facing huge HR problems after a company was successful in an unfair dismissal case against another business.
The ruling was given in July, but the case went to appeal and again ruled in favour of the claimant.
Now, this is a particularly confusing one given how unusual it is. Gerry Abrams is founder of self-named company, Gerry Abrams. Gerry Abrams had a contract to supply services to EAD Solicitors.
But when Mr Abrams hit EAD's compulsory retirement age, the firm did not renew its contract with Gerry Abrams the company.
Gerry Abrams took EAD Solicitors to an employment tribunal, arguing that the solicitors' decision not to renew the contract was age discrimination.
The tribunal has effectively ruled that a certain part of the Equality Act 2010, Section 13 to be specific, applies to businesses as well as people.
The ruling could mean that businesses across the UK start taking clients to an employment tribunal over such matters when contracts are cancelled or not renewed. It means companies may have to start detailed information about why a business relationship ends or why another company was chosen ahead of another.
Speaking to The Telegraph, David Whincup, head of the London employment department at commercial law firm Squire Patton Boggs, said: “This could be a real headache, in theory, as it means every decision you make to terminate or not enter into a contract with a business could potentially be challenged as discriminatory.”
Mr Whincup added: “If I want to deal with a firm of lawyers and I have a beauty parade and one firm sends along some people to meet me who are disabled or from an ethnic minority, or pregnant, or very old or very young and I choose not to deal with that firm, even for competence reasons, that firm could in theory claim that it was because of the protected characteristics of those individuals.”