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A recent case in the High Court has highlighted the difficulties that can arise in applying employment law to partners in a partnership.

The case of Clyde & Co v Van Winkelhof involved a partner in a professional partnership who issued proceedings in the employment tribunal for unfair discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and whistle blowing. The partnership applied for an injunction to prevent her from continuing with the proceedings as the partnership agreement provided for mandatory mediation and then arbitration in the event of a dispute.

Whilst partners who are not salaried partners, and therefore not employees, are not able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act, they do have rights not to be discriminated against under the Equality Act 2010. Such rights cannot be excluded by the terms of the Partnership Agreement as the Employment Rights Act and Equality Act render an agreement void if it prevents a claim being brought in the tribunal for breach of their provisions.

Therefore the court refused to grant the injunction.

It is always advisable to have a Partnership Agreement professionally drafted by a commercial solicitor so that its terms are legal and enforceable.

Written by Andrew Hodges

June 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

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