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Right to Choose Partners

15 January, 2016 - 09:35

A business partnership is often analogized to a marriage partnership. In both there is a relationship of trust and confidence between (or among) the parties; in both the poor judgment, negligence, or dishonesty of one can create liabilities on the other(s). In a good marriage or good partnership, the partners are friends, whatever else the legal relationship imposes. Thus no one is compelled to accept a partner against his or her will. Section 401(i) of RUPA provides, “A person may become a partner only with the consent of all of the partners.” UPA Section 18(g) is to the same effect; the doctrine is called delectus personae. The freedom to select new partners, however, is not absolute. In 1984, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—which prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, religion, national origin, or sex—applies to partnerships. 1