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Former partner loses age discrimination case against firm

By Kathryn Higgins

29 July 2016 at 09:00 BST

The former partner at a Top 100 regional firm alleged age discrimination when his employer declined to offer him a new partnership after a restructure.

Oleg Dudko

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has dismissed an appeal brought by Tracy Fennell, a former senior solicitor at West Country law firm Foot Anstey who claimed that age discrimination had played a role in his firm’s decision not to continue his limited equity partnership (LEP) at the firm. While Her Honour Justice Eady QC criticized the ‘confused and unstructured reasoning’ of the Cardiff employment tribunal (ET) that first heard Mr Fennell’s case, she ultimately upheld its decision that his dismissal from the firm’s partnership was legal and fair.

Slipping performance

Mr Fennell joined Foot Anstey in 2011 at the age of 49. Formerly head of the firm’s corporate transaction team in Bristol as well as its aerospace, defence and security sector team, Mr Fennell claimed that his age played a role in Foot Anstey’s decision not to renew his LEP following a restructuring of the firm. However, while the appeals tribunal acknowledged that the statistical likelihood of obtaining an equity partnership does decline with age, that alone did not in this case shift the burden of proof onto the respondent. The tribunal also heard that Mr Fennell’s performance had declined significantly in the run-up to his removal from the partnership and that he had failed to meet major targets in a performance review.

Source: Legal Futures


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