Employee Excluded from 'Pizza Fridays' Wins Over $32,000 in Compensation
"She could have been asked if she wanted to join in," the judge reportedly stated.
No one likes to feel like the office outcast, and sometimes, it's the subtle snubs that stick with you the most—like a British woman who was recently awarded over $32,000 in compensation for workplace discrimination that included, among other issues, being left out from "Pizza Fridays."
Malgorzata Lewicka—who served as a telephone receptionist and service advisor at Hartwell, a Ford dealership—began to have problems at the workplace in March 2018 after she submitted formal complaints about her hours, pay, and gender discrimination from her manager, according to The Sun. Yet despite her manager being reprimanded and Lewicka returning to a different branch in Watford, her coworkers apparently began ostracizing her and, in January 2019, Lewicka was let go from the company.
One of the most relatable incidents during this "campaign of victimization" was that when the office ordered in takeout on the last Friday of the month, Lewicka wasn't included. "We accept that the lunches may have been ad hoc and they were informal. However [Miss Lewicka] gave clear evidence that at [her previous branch in] Hemel a manager went around the site taking lunch orders and that she was included," Judge Jennifer Bartlett said, according to the Mirror. "However when she moved to Watford she was not asked if she wanted to order or participate whereas other colleagues were. She could have been asked if she wanted to join in."
In their defense, Hartwell apparently said that Lewicka was excluded because she finished work at 1 p.m., also saying a desire to make her position fulltime was why she was laid off. But in the end, the judge wasn't having it: "[Miss Lewicka] as a single woman with child care commitments has suffered a disadvantage from [Hartwell's] requirement that Service Advisors work full-time namely she was selected for redundancy and dismissed," the judge reportedly stated.
As a result, Lewicka was said to have been awarded £23,079 (about $32,580) as compensation for injury to feelings and loss of earnings. That can buy a lot of pizza—but it's not the same when you're eating it alone.