No invitation to a drinks do can be victimisation

The Employment Tribunal has recently heard a case in which the owner of a casino faced various claims form an employee, one of which was victimisation.

The claimant was of mixed black African heritage and was the most experienced cashier working on the cash desk for the casino. Over the years, she was passed over for promotion in favour of younger people and was promised a salary increase of £1000 in recognition of work success but this uplift did not make its way into her pay packet. 

The claimant made various allegations against her employer but of particular interest is an incident during which all other colleagues working in the cash desk discussed going out for a drink at a bar. The claimant was the only one in the room who was not included. This was not a formally organised works' drink but the Employment Tribunal considered that it was a drink amongst work colleagues to which the claimant would normally have been invited. The Tribunal agreed that it was 'at the very least insensitive to discuss the arrangements in front of her when she was not invited '.

The Tribunal concluded that this exclusion was because the claimant had complained of discrimination and they explained the accusation of victimisation succinctly:

'Parliament has decided that those who make complaints of discrimination should not be treated badly for doing so. Policy behind the victimisation provisions is to ensure that workers are not deterred from bringing complaints even if those complaints are not correct but as long as they are made in good faith.'

The Employment Tribunal found that being excluded from discussions at work about a social occasion amongst colleagues when one would normally be included, would subject an employee to a detriment at work. Thus, this amounted to victimisation.

The irony of an organisation which offers social entertainment 24-hour is a day, 364 days a year being liable for failing to invite an employee to a social event cannot go unnoticed. However, it is an important reminder for employers to ensure that employees are not subject to victimisation due to exclusion from events. Employers should review their policies carefully and ensure that their staff are adequately trained.

To discuss this or any other employment matter, contact us.

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