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Mum On Maternity Set For £8k Payout After Being Snubbed From The Office Christmas Party

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Mum On Maternity Set For £8k Payout After Being Snubbed From The Office Christmas Party

A new mum could receive almost £9,000 in compensation after she was snubbed from her work Christmas party while on maternity leave.

A tribunal has ruled that Catriona Howie was discriminated against by her employer, Kitchen by Holloways, after the kitchen and design firm failed to invite her to their festive drinks.

At the time of the Christmas party, Catriona was on a year long maternity leave looking after her daughter.

Catriona wasn't invited to celebrate the holidays with her team (Credit: Pexels)
Catriona wasn't invited to celebrate the holidays with her team (Credit: Pexels)
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However, she says her feelings were hurt when she wasn't included in the celebration, The Times reports.

Catriona, who worked as a general manager for the company after joining in 2013, went on maternity leave back in July 2017, and in this time she gave birth to her daughter Presley.

She was meant to return to work the following summer.

The sum - which could be as much as £8,800 - is now to be awarded to Catriona to compensate for 'injury to her feelings', the tribunal panel has ruled.

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The party took place at a time when the firm, which was struggling financially, decided not to have a traditional Christmas bash to save money, and instead organised a more low-key trip to the pub with a £200 bar tab instead.

Catriona feels she was left out (Credit: Pexels)
Catriona feels she was left out (Credit: Pexels)

According to the tribunal, "No one invited (Mrs Howie)" .They 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."

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Speaking on the incident, the company's director Sarah Nelson told the hearing that 'it did not occur to her' to invite Catriona to the pub.

"It was not a proper party and nor was it a normal year," she said in defence of the decision.

Catriona says she believes there had been a conscious effort to make her feel unwelcome within the business.

Judge Corinna Ferguson said she was not excluded deliberately, but conceded: "No one thought about her.

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"Had she been at work she would certainly have been invited. She was overlooked because she was on maternity leave."

The mum said a colleague also mocked her baby's name (Credit: Pexels)
The mum said a colleague also mocked her baby's name (Credit: Pexels)

While Catriona may well be getting a payout of almost £9000, she lost another claim suggesting that a colleague had discriminated against her because they teased her for naming her daughter after the legendary singer.

Upon returning to work, the disappointed mum was also told she was being made redundant.

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She will now be handed £1,027 for unpaid wages and holiday pay, and the judge is to consider compensation of anywhere between £900 to £8,800 for 'injury to feelings'.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: Christmas, Motherhood

Joanna Freedman
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