Woman Wins Four Figure Payout After Bosses Forget To Invite Her To Christmas Party
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A mum has won a payout after her bosses forgot to invite her to a Christmas event while she was on maternity leave.
Catriona Howie's invitation was overlooked by bosses at Holloways of Ludlow Design & Build Ltd (otherwise known as Kitchens by Holloways) and a tribunal found that it amounted to 'injury to feelings'.
The drinks took place in December 2018, while Ms Howie was off work following the birth of her daughter.
She had previously worked at the company, which operates in the design industry, as a general manager for six years.
After going on maternity leave, the firm found themselves in financial difficulty and opted for a low scale Christmas 'party' which consisted of a trip to a London pub and a £200 bar tab.
The tribunal was told: "Most of the London based staff attended. No-one invited (Mrs Howie). We accept that it was a short notice and informal event and there were no formal invitations. Staff were informed by word of mouth or text message."
One of the company's directors added that 'it did not occur to her' to invite Mrs Howie. Adding: "It was not a proper party and nor was it a normal year." She appreciated that Ms Howie would have been invited if she had been at work.
In its findings, the Tribunal stated: "We have accepted that the Respondent did not hold a Christmas party in 2018 in the way that it normally would, but it is not in dispute that there were informal drinks in late December, subsidised by the Respondent, in lieu of a Christmas party.
"We accept there was no deliberate decision to exclude the Claimant. However, the reason she was not invited was that no-one thought about her. That was because she was on maternity leave.
"Had she been at work around this time, she would certainly have been invited. She was overlooked because she was on maternity leave. We therefore consider this complaint to be wellfounded."
It goes on: "We consider that the failure to invite the Claimant to the Christmas drinks and the lack of communication/consultation about the redundancy situation was 'conduct extending over a period', ending when the Claimant returned to work on 1 July 2019.
"It was all part of the Respondent's general approach towards the Claimant while she was on maternity leave, which was to keep her from the truth of what was happening with the company and her likely redundancy. The claim was therefore presented in time."
With regards to the remedy, the Tribunal suggested: "As for injury to feelings, again we would need to hear evidence about it but we consider it likely, given the nature of the discriminatory conduct, that any award would be somewhere around the middle of the lower band of the Vento guidelines (£900 to £8,800)."
LADbible has contacted Holloways of Ludlow Design & Build Ltd and they have declined to comment.