A new mum is expecting nearly £9,000 compensation after she was snubbed from her office’s Christmas party as she was on maternity leave.
Catriona Howie, a new mum, is set for an over £8,000 payout after a tribunal ruled that she had been discriminated against by her employer, Kitchen by Holloways, after the kitchen and design firm failed to make sure she was invited along to her work’s festive party.
At the time of the event, Catriona was on year-long maternity leave while looking after her daughter.
According to The Times, the mum said that she felt hurt when she found out she hadn’t been invited to the celebrations.
The new mum had joined the company in 2013 and was employed as a general manager. Yet in July 2017, she went on maternity leave and during this time, gave birth to her daughter.
The following summer, she planned to head back to work.
The celebrations took place when the firm was undergoing some financial difficulties. To save money, it was decided that the company would not have a traditional Christmas bash and instead have a low-key trip down to the pub with a tab of £200.
At the tribunal, it was said: “Most of the London based staff attended…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.”
Discussing the incident, company director Sarah Nelson said that it hadn’t occurred to her to invite Catriona as it was not a “proper party and nor was it a normal year.”
However, Catriona sees it differently and believes that there was a conscious effort to make her feel unwelcome at the firm.
Although it was concluded that the mum wasn’t excluded deliberately from the party, judge Corinna Ferguson stated: “No one thought about her.
“Had she been at work she would certainly have been invited. She was overlooked because she was on maternity leave.”
It was ruled by the tribunal panel that as there was “injury to her feelings,” as much as £8,800 would be rewarded to Catriona as compensation.
Despite having an almost £9,000 payout, the mum was disappointed to find that she had lost another claim she made in which she accused a colleague of discriminating against her because she had named her daughter after a legendary singer.
When Catriona eventually returned to work, she was informed that she was being made redundant.
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