Company sued for not inviting employee on maternity to Christmas Party

Published on: 07/01/2021


A new mother who was not invited to her work Christmas party whilst on maternity leave has succeeded in her claim against her employer.

Catriona Howie’s superiors claimed they simply forgot to invite her to the party, as it had been a much more low-key affair that particular year, with employees simply gathering at a local pub and drinks being paid for by management. However, the tribunal ruled Mrs Howie had been overlooked because she was on maternity leave and that it merited compensation because of ‘injury to her feelings’.

Catriona Howie now stands to receive an award of compensation between £900 and £8,800 from her employer, luxury kitchen and design firm, Holloways Of Ludlow Design & Build Ltd. She will also receive £1,027 in unpaid wages and holiday pay.

Mrs Howie had brought claims of discrimination on the grounds of maternity, and a claim of unfair dismissal. As well as the Christmas party mishap, Mrs Howie explained to the tribunal that her employer had withheld information about its difficult financial position, a colleague had mocked her decision to name her new born daughter after Elvis Presley, and she was told her role was no longer required upon returning to work after the maternity leave.

Employers must not discriminate against a member of staff on the grounds of their pregnancy or maternity. Discrimination includes acts such as dismissal, changes in pay, or forcing them to work whilst on maternity leave. The law applies regardless of how long the person has been employed. Should you need any advice in relation to a pregnant member of staff, or a member of staff on maternity leave, please do not hesitate to contact our employment team.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.