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Party snub was maternity discrimination

Posted on: October 18th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

You might not be ready to think about Christmas just yet, but with parties being booked, this case is a useful reminder of the importance of inclusivity.


The claimant was not invited to a Christmas party organised by her employer whilst she was on maternity leave. The employer stated that it did not occur to them to invite her as ‘it was not a proper party’. The employer had also failed to keep her up to date with the financial situation of the business which had led to her role being made redundant (which the employee was only informed of when planning her return from maternity leave).

The tribunal held she had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against because she’d been treated unfavourably whilst on maternity leave.

Practical takeaway 

Communication is key – out of sight must not mean out of mind. It may not be the intention to exclude anyone from social events, but ensuring that everyone (including those on maternity leave) is kept in the loop and given the option to accept or decline will remove the risk of potential discrimination arguments.

Proactive plan – before an employee goes on maternity leave agree how they’d like you to stay in touch, be it email, calls, or text, and how frequently they’d like to hear from you (as and when things come up, or weekly / monthly updates, for example).

If you need advice or support in managing family-friendly leave – Intelligent Employment can help. Find out more.


This update is accurate on the date it was sent (19 October 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.