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Nursing mothers on mat leave, not allowed baby at work's Christmas lunch

(61 Posts)
squins Mon 01-Dec-14 17:55:27

Ironically, I work in the social inclusion department of a large organisation. I'm on maternity leave and feel like I've been excluded from the Christmas lunch party this year as I'm not allowed to take my two month old baby due to 'health and safety' issues. The event is at a pub which allows babies and children, the decision not to allow them came from my work's management...not from the pub. I cannot leave babe, as I'm breastfeeding and my partner has to work.
There are only four other women who are on maternity leave, who also cannot make the event.
My line manager and colleagues are all in support of me and cannot understand management's problem.
Just how discriminatory is this? how far can I push my query into why I can't bring the baby? It's just lunch in a pub with good friends and colleagues.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Mon 01-Dec-14 18:06:02

I suppose if it was an evening event would you expect to bring your LO?

If babysitting is an issue, and as it is a public place, could you ask your Mum or.someone to sit elsewhere in the pub and have lunch and mind the baby with you poppig over to feed if need?

It is possible the staff just want a hair-down, boozy christmas celebration without babies and kids there. Not unreasonable.of them, and BFing has nothing to do with it imo.

vestandknickers Mon 01-Dec-14 18:10:23

I should imagine health and safety is an excuse. Maybe your colleagues would actually just like a relaxed, adult occasion without babies in attendance.

TheOldestCat Mon 01-Dec-14 18:18:20

One of my colleagues (male) was on extended paternity leave last Christmas and he came to our team lunch with his baby. She was a hit! And we all were pleased to see him (and pleased to make him feel included).

I understand people want to let their hair down at child-free events, but isn't that what an evening do is for? And presumably you're not going to hit the pub after lunch. If your manager and colleagues support you, then can you ask for their support and ask HR what the reason is.

So much for social inclusion at your company!

merrymouse Mon 01-Dec-14 18:22:46

How odd - wouldn't health and safety be the responsibility of the pub, not you.

Little babies aren't usually that disruptive, and presumably you would leave if your baby was miserable as it would be miserable for you.

Anthracite Mon 01-Dec-14 18:27:15

Do it anyway? Just say that you are popping in for ten minutes to wish everyone well. Chances are, they will insist you stay.

Anthracite Mon 01-Dec-14 18:28:46

I imagine that the underlying issue is that, if the company is footing the bill, you have to do some business. Someone will be interpreting the rules very literally.

ditavonteesed Mon 01-Dec-14 18:33:52

may I guide you to this fantastically amusing site I was shown in a helath and safety lecture recently. Yoy can ask them if health and safety is a real issue or just an excuse here and they will tell you.

TheOldestCat Mon 01-Dec-14 18:55:03

Love that, ditavonteesed! Particularly enjoying the Will Young case

Did he ever find his pooch?

Bartlebee Mon 01-Dec-14 19:01:47

Perhaps they're just citing health & safety as an excuse, in reality they might think having a baby there would be a bit of a buzzkill?

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 01-Dec-14 19:05:56

Would you be allowed to take your baby to work with you?

The works Christmas lunch regardless of where it is held is still a work event & employers are now liable for happenings at such occasions eg they have been sued fir sexual harassment for events taking place at Xmas parties.

Waswondering Mon 01-Dec-14 19:56:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squins Mon 08-Dec-14 11:47:24

Thanks for your tips and jokes. Love the Will Young story comparison!

squins Mon 08-Dec-14 11:50:47

@picturesinthefirelight do you have a link to show evidence to support this? I'm not too familiar with my employment laws. many thanks

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 08-Dec-14 12:06:32

Im trying to copy & paste various links on my phone but it keeps refreshing and losing my links.

I guess what I'm saying is that if a company is liable for harrasment issues at an event organised by themselves then they may also be liable for health & safety/ having children around issues.

https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/310302/christmas-party-harassment#!

Managed one link, another is Nixon v Ross coates solicitors.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 08-Dec-14 12:08:01

www.lindermyers.co.uk/christmas-parties-office-gossip-and-harassment/

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 08-Dec-14 12:11:05

I'm confused? You are all on maternity leave ie not at work?

Why would you expect to go to the works Xmas lunch let alone your child/ren?

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 08-Dec-14 12:11:14

www.hiscox.co.uk/business-blog/features/need-public-liability-insurance-christmas-party/

Particularly this bit might be relevant

"If one of your employees manages to injure one of your party guests, then the liability for this injury could also pass to you. This could easily happen, particularly at a Christmas party when employees and clients are more likely to have a drink and a dance. One mistimed spin or a bump into other revellers, and your guests could find they’ve hurt more than their pride."

december12 Mon 08-Dec-14 12:16:17

I'm shock actually. Why would you think it was OK to take a baby to a work lunch?

If the issue is breastfeeding, I'm sure you can leave baby for a couple of hours with expressed milk. If it's babysitting, then it's nothing to do with breastfeeding.

Scoopmuckdizzy Mon 08-Dec-14 12:32:26

I went to Christmas lunch with my colleagues when on maternity leave, it was lovely to catch up. DP took 6WO DS into work with him for a couple of hours as it was close by. DS just snoozed in his carseat and he delivered him back to me when he wanted feeding. My colleagues loved having the baby there for the last 15 minutes or so. Obviously this was a relaxed lunch in a pub, not the staff xmas party.

bbcessex Mon 08-Dec-14 12:36:03

I don't think it feels particularly discriminatory (although maybe it is, from a legal perspective). You wouldn't be allowed to bring your baby in to a work meeting whilst on mat leave...

I wouldn't push it if I were you. It seems that whoever you've asked doesn't want babies / children there, and <imo> that's fine. People generally like to let their hair down at Christmas parties, and having a baby / child / non-work colleague there changes the dynamics.

SirChenjin Mon 08-Dec-14 12:39:44

2 of our work colleagues were on mat leave 3 years ago - both bought their babies in for our Christmas lunch, both babies sat quietly in their prams, both breastfed, and we all had a great time like the adults we are. Mind you, we were all back to work later in the day and work for the NHS - so getting plastered wasn't really a concern

If the issue is breastfeeding, I'm sure you can leave baby for a couple of hours with expressed milk

Spot the poster who has never had a breastfed baby who wouldn't take a bottle of anything.

SirChenjin Mon 08-Dec-14 12:40:55

And those saying "you wouldn't bring a baby to a meeting" - don't know about you, but I wouldn't bring a 3 course dinner or a bottle of wine to a meeting either, so not a great analogy.

ScarlettOHaraHamilton Mon 08-Dec-14 12:46:07

I'm a bit on the fence here with this one.

I don't see the issue so much as your child being breastfed, as you wanting to take a child to your work party. There are plenty of reasons why a parent on maternity/paternity leave wouldn't be able to attend without taking their baby with them; breastfeeding isn't the sole reason for that.

While personally I love having a small baby around to cuddle, I can also understand why your employers are saying that they don't want a two month old baby at a work party. Just like if you had a colleague who worked part-time and the party was on one of their days off, and they could only come if they brought their DC with them.

SirChenjin Mon 08-Dec-14 12:53:07

I don't think the OP just wants to take her baby to the party - she's breastfeeding so needs to be with her baby, and hoped that her team would practice the inclusion they preach.

DCs are not being breastfed (generally) so part timers usually find babysitters (which the OP can't do) or don't go (which she can do, but given that it's a baby who will sit in its pram and don't demand the same attention as a child.

The whole 'health and safety' thing drives me mad - it's only ever H&S when it doesn't suit management.

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