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Not invited to Christmas party on maternity leave - discrimination?

(160 Posts)
Cosmogirl86 Fri 15-Nov-19 15:45:36

I'm hoping to get some advice on this as I'm not overly familiar with employment legislation, and I'm not certain what constitutes discrimination and what doesn't.

I have been on maternity since June and found out last week that the Christmas party has been arranged and I've neither been notified or invited. I only found out when a friend in the office told me as we chatting, she assumed I'd been asked.

The Christmas do is always paid for by the company so the employee does not pay for themselves and is therefore a benefit of the job. Everyone except those on maternity leave have been invited from what I can gather.

I have emailed my team leader several times, and eventually got a response to say its her not her responsibility to invite me and to contact hr. I contacted HR with no response. I have since found out from my team leaders manager that it is her responsibility to invite me, yet I still have nothing.

So after multiple emails, I am ready to give up as I don't like feeling like I'm begging to be included. However I am feeling very isolated and excluded due to this.

Does this count as discrimination? I'm based in Northern Ireland if that makes a difference?

Elodie2019 Fri 15-Nov-19 15:54:55

I have been on Mat leave several times over the years and have never been included in (or wanted to be included in) anything work related during my absence.
I wouldn't expect to be included tbh.

Elodie2019 Fri 15-Nov-19 15:57:46

Having said that, if I had made it clear that I wanted to go, I'm sure work would have included me... It would have been a bit strange to go /or ask though...
Private parties held by colleague 'friends' were a different thing! I was invited to them and went!

Cosmogirl86 Fri 15-Nov-19 15:58:30

I'm more asking from a legal point of view, is this discrimination. Rather than simply whether or not other people would want to go or not.

ooooohbetty Fri 15-Nov-19 16:01:05

I'm not sure a Xmas party is covered in employment legislation. I wouldn't expect to be invited to a free party if I was absent from work either sick or on mat leave.

Elodie2019 Fri 15-Nov-19 16:02:04

Well, I doubt it. You're on Mat. leave.
I'm also not talking exclusively about 'wanting to go' - I said I wouldn't EXPECT to be included!
Do they include you in meetings, Team building days etc when you are off?
Contact your union if you like!

Candlesandrust Fri 15-Nov-19 16:03:13

You should be invited to attend. You should be notified of any changes in the workplace and invited to attend any paid for events. Of course, its easy to be forgotten about in a small workplace or where people are very busy, so have you had any KIT days or generally kept in touch?

Letseatgrandma Fri 15-Nov-19 16:03:36

I wouldn’t have expected to go.

The fact you are ready to call this discrimination is interesting. How do you get on with your colleagues/management in general?

GrumpyHoonMain Fri 15-Nov-19 16:03:49

Christmas parties at my workplace have only included people on mat leave if the party isn’t in the however many weeks it is after birth where work can’t contact you. So I am not included this year but I will be next year.

Fortheloveofscience Fri 15-Nov-19 16:04:07

I don’t think it’s discrimination - you’re not working, so don’t go to work events including the social stuff. However, YANBU to be upset they didn’t invite you thinking it would be nice to see you for a catch up if you fancied going.

DonnaDarko Fri 15-Nov-19 16:04:21

It's not discrimination, they're probably just being thoughtless or trying to save money.

Mintjulia Fri 15-Nov-19 16:05:00

When my assistant was on maternity leave, I was told not to contact her on any work related issue at all except keeping up to date days, since it could count as harassment.
It sounds like someone is playing it safe to me.

Shinyshoes2 Fri 15-Nov-19 16:07:24

I wouldn't call it discrimination no , but several emails to your boss and HR don't be surprised if you don't get the cold shoulder at the party while your spouting discrimination to all that will listen
I wouldn't expect an invite while on maternity and as you've said no one else on maternity over the previous years has been invited so why would you be any different

IDontEvenHaveAPla Fri 15-Nov-19 16:10:42

No, this is not discrimination and rather interesting how you've jumped straight to this. Is there a reason why you think it is?

You are on leave, during this time anything to do with your work is not your concern as you are on legally entitled leave. It's really that simple, they are not obligated to invite you to any company events during this time.

I'm surprised you've gone around and made such an issue of this, why do you feel you should have got an invite even though you are on your leave?

Sophonax Fri 15-Nov-19 16:13:23

I save the term workplace 'discrimination' for things that are actually serious and have an impact on your professional life, not an optional social event which has absolutely no importance to your job, and which many people don't want to attend even when they're not on maternity leave.

busface999 Fri 15-Nov-19 16:15:00

I returned to work a few months ago after a year's maternity leave. I would not consider your situation to constitute discrimination. You are taking extended leave from work, to which you are legally entitled. I wouldn't expect them to call you in for meetings etc, and therefore also wouldn't expect you to be invited to work parties.

holidays987 Fri 15-Nov-19 16:19:45

It's not discrimination, you're on mat leave.

Are you really that fussed about going?

BlackCatSleeping Fri 15-Nov-19 16:19:51

I thought legally they had to invite you.

Cosmogirl86 Fri 15-Nov-19 16:20:40

There's basically been quite a few issues - bring denied access to promotion opportunities and denied pay rise. I was wondering if this also needed to be added to the list

Disfordarkchocolate Fri 15-Nov-19 16:23:13

Some years being in labour would have been more fun than my work Christmas do.

IDontEvenHaveAPla Fri 15-Nov-19 16:23:33

OP, legally, it's not discrimination and I would stop making it an issue with your company. They are not obligated to invite you at all. For your own sake, drop it now.

Without sounding too harsh, you feeling excluded is not their concern, you are on your leave, during this time you do as you feel fit for your health and child. Work matters (including events) are not your concern. I'm failing to understand why you even assumed you would be invited.

Employers will only contact you if they need to inform you of something to do with your actual terms of employment, otherwise they are to not get in touch.

LifeSpectator Fri 15-Nov-19 16:24:36

no its not discrimination.

IDontEvenHaveAPla Fri 15-Nov-19 16:27:08

OP, again it is NOT discrimination when you are on your maternity leave. Missing promotions is unfortunately an aspect of this as you are currently on leave. Furthermore, it's not discrimination to deny you a pay rise during this time. Upon your return to work after your leave, you can then discuss and negotiate a pay rise. Currently none of this is your concern, the business will run as usual whilst you are not there.

In the nicest way possible, stop looking for issues and reasons to be offended, you are not being discriminated against whilst off on leave.
It honestly comes across as you are just looking for reasons to file discrimination against them, even though nothing they've done is wrong.

PickwickThePlockingDodo Fri 15-Nov-19 16:29:18

I don’t think it’s discrimination - you’re not working, so don’t go to work events including the social stuff.

^ this

SippingTea Fri 15-Nov-19 16:31:49

You sound like some of the people I’ve had to manage in the past. I can’t help but imagine there is probably good reason as to why you haven’t been promoted/denied a pay rise if you’re so quick to react to a minor (non) issue. Sounds more like an issue of entitlement than discrimination....

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