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Not invited to Christmas party on maternity leave - discrimination?

(182 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?

Black77Bird Fri 28-Feb-20 04:38:45

It's probably more a case of 'out of sight, out of mind' that you weren't invited. Maybe they assumed you were too busy or something?

Personally, I'd let it go ...

Susanlloyd1234e56 Fri 17-Jan-20 12:24:09

Your and your organisation can arrange KIT days - Keep in Touch days nothing else.... I wouldn't take it personally, it is probably just an oversight that they haven't invited you as you are on leave

flowery Sun 15-Dec-19 14:02:55

It’s undoubtedly a discriminatory act. What might vary is how you handle it.

If the act was committed with no malicious intent, through an error or oversight, was an isolated incident and the person is/would be completely mortified to realise what had happened and would rush to put things right, then clearly a grievance/legal claim wouldn’t be necessary and a simple conversation would be appropriate.

If the same act was part of a pattern and/or deliberate less favourable treatment and/or the person didn’t think they’d done anything wrong/had no intention of putting it right, then a grievance and/or legal claim may be necessary or appropriate.

Lack of malicious intent doesn’t mean it wasn’t discrimination, but as with anything, context is king as to how it is addressed.

PixieDustt Sun 15-Dec-19 02:04:08

Someone I knew filed maternity discrimination and got double figures from the company 💰

flowery Sun 15-Dec-19 01:20:56

”I'm not the lawyer or study about employment law. Just my opinion.”

Ok. Well I’ve been studying and advising on employment law for 20 years, so if it’s all the same to you I’ll stick with my opinion.

GPoli Sat 14-Dec-19 20:51:28

Flowery is right it is direct discrimination. As are the following points whilst pregnant and/or on parental leave (your still employed by the company - regardless if it's paid or unpaid leave).

This is a snipit from the Australian Human Rights Commision...
"A range of different types of discrimination, including both indirect and direct forms, were experienced by women throughout pregnancy/return to work and by men during parental leave and on return to work. The types of discrimination in this chapter include:

- negative attitudes towards pregnant women and mother and fathers
- health and safety issues
- recruitment bias against working parents
- changes to salary, conditions and duties upon announcing pregnancy, while on parental leave or on return to work
- being refused leave for the purpose of caring responsibilities
- limited contact during parental leave
- missing out on career advancement opportunities during pregnancy/return to work
- being denied flexible arrangements on return to work after parental leave
- inadequate support in workplaces for women who are breastfeeding/expressing
- dismissal and redundancy".

In my example recently. It seems my team/leader seem to pick and chose what I'm updated on (or invited to).
E.g. there has been a recent structural change in my team and I have not been informed about it properly yet (I found out from my colleague who is a friend of mine).

I was also contacted and invited to the team I work with directly christmas lunch, but I was not contacted or informed about the company christmas party (where all employees are invited). I found this especially odd knowing that last year, others who were on maternity leave were invited. (Note: I only went on my maternity leave halfway through this year and worked all of the first half).

So..my intent is not to sue or put formal complaints through...but I can understand where this original posting and the person who wrote it is coming from. It actually makes you feel like shit to be blunt. The same happened to my colleague friend who is due back from her maternity leave in a month (and she has been working 1 day a week in the lead up as part of her keeping in touch days.

Hohonoshow Sat 14-Dec-19 20:25:04

...also the idea that a tribunal settlement would mean you could afford never to work again is a bit of a laugh. Lol.

Hohonoshow Sat 14-Dec-19 20:23:58

Yeah, cultmas, these uppity women wanting equal treatment and everything when they should be grateful they are allowed to work in a man's job in the first place.

cultmaskid Sat 14-Dec-19 19:30:35

Are you trying to sue them so you don't have to work again
You sound a nightmare

ohwheniknow Sat 14-Dec-19 19:21:35

Fuck sake, no wonder the op abandoned this thread with the utter nonsense people keep posting.

zoemelb Sat 14-Dec-19 19:15:20

Will you not get paid if you don't go to Christmas party? Was the invite sent to everyone to prove that only OP was not invited, and is there proof? It's hard to prove that everyone was invited, in reality. Or it was invited to OP but through work emails instead and she didn't check it (it isn't employer responsibility to make sure you receive the invite)? Did OP make a case to the employer that she wants to attend but refused because she's on maternity and they don't want her to attend (will probably be discrimination) ? Also if every year OP was invited and only this year she was not? Has any other woman on maternity leave not invited as well or only her (if only her then probably just a mishap, if everyone on maternity leave not invited then it's probably discrimination but then again can she prove it)?

Hohonoshow Sat 14-Dec-19 18:46:38

How is it not work conditions though?

zoemelb Sat 14-Dec-19 18:15:08

@flowery: I think discrimination during pregnancy is more about your pay, work conditions or contractual terms.

Does OP sure that no-one not invited to the party? At my works not everyone does for example, just because you are at different office or maybe offsite, and invited that team/employee may mean the company will have to sort out your travel. It doesn't give ground for discrimination for that group/employees.

If everyone gets a fixed amount of bonus or pay rise and you don't get because of being on maternity, then I think it has the ground for discrimination.

I'm not the lawyer or study about employment law. Just my opinion.

maternityaction.org.uk/advice/discrimination-during-maternity-leave-and-on-return-to-work/

flowery Sat 14-Dec-19 17:05:38

”Would be nice if they invited you but not a requirement by law.”

What are you basing that advice on? The Equality Act says women cannot be treated less favourably because of their pregnancy/maternity leave. How is excluding them from a paid-for Christmas party not treating them less favourably? If a company gave £50 of vouchers to all employees at Christmas time, it would be unlawful discrimination to exclude women on maternity. This is the same.

zoemelb Sat 14-Dec-19 15:33:38

No I don't think it's discrimination. Would be nice if they invited you but not a requirement by law. Sometimes people will just forget while you haven't been around.

Hohonoshow Sat 14-Dec-19 15:28:54

I wish there was some way to make all the "I once had a job and I'm female so I know what discrimination is and this isn't it" posts disappear so that OP could read the very few from people who are actually clued up on equality legislation.

flowery Sat 14-Dec-19 15:00:06

” Op you're being silly.

You're off work which means you are not included in anything there.”

Why would they give you a promotion and pay rise when you aren't there?

They have to legally keep your job for you, nothing else.”

Good grief. If you are that completely ignorant in respect of employment law, please don’t post in this topic or make statements about what the law says. You’re making yourself look foolish and some poor woman reading this might actually believe you.

leghairdontcare Sat 14-Dec-19 14:55:11

flowery grin

Dandelion1993 biscuit

Dandelion1993 Sat 14-Dec-19 14:51:59

Op you're being silly.

You're off work which means you are not included in anything there.

Why would they give you a promotion and pay rise when you aren't there?

They have to legally keep your job for you, nothing else.

flowery Sat 14-Dec-19 14:45:44

I could put on my “I know what I’m talking about” badge but this thread shows that would be meaningless! grin

flowery Sat 14-Dec-19 14:45:04

It’s not indirect discrimination, it’s direct. OP is being treated less favourably because of her pregnancy/maternity leave.

I would also like to add that there seems to be a misconception here that intent is relevant. If it was an accidental oversight that doesn’t mean it isn’t discrimination. Discriminatory treatment doesn’t have to be malicious, it can frequently come through ignorance of legal requirements or incompetence/error.

GPoli Sat 14-Dec-19 10:26:34

Wow some mixed responses to this question and some harsh.
It's actually indirect discrimination. It's happened to me...same year I took maternity leave in so I jad contributed that year... a lot.
So yes..it's indirect.

eurochick Sun 17-Nov-19 07:10:15

This thread is depressing. OP it does sound like a concerning pattern of behaviour.

KatherineJaneway Sun 17-Nov-19 06:57:40

Incidentally, I work in HR so do know what I'm talking about. Hope that helps.

Clearly not or you wouldn't be talking such rubbish.

Ginger1982 Sat 16-Nov-19 21:27:54

Some people on here have been really horrible. It may not be discriminators per se but she's still an employee and it's a bit shitty not to invite her.

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