A former receptionist at a car dealership in Watford who was excluded from ‘Pizza Friday’ events has won a payout of over £20,000.

A tribunal ruled that single mum Malgorzata Lewicka was left out of the informal lunches and was victimised at Hartwell, a Ford car dealership.

Miss Lewicka worked for Hartwell from May 2014 as a telephone receptionist and service advisor.

She moved to the company's site in Hemel Hempstead while the Watford dealership underwent a rebuild between November 2016 and April 2018.

The hearing was told that in March 2018, Miss Lewicka submitted a grievance complaining about her pay, working hours and alleged sexual discrimination by a member of staff.

Following an investigation, Hartwell found the staff member had committed gross misconduct and was issued with a final written warning.

Miss Lewicka then told the tribunal that she was excluded from company lunches in the Watford branch, said to be held on the last Friday of every month.

Employees would be asked for their takeaway order by managers which could include pizza, fish and chips or other food.

But Miss Lewicka was not asked if she wanted to order or participate in the events, known as Pizza Friday.

She told the hearing that “other employees were asked but she was not asked if she wanted to order food or participate”.

Hartwell claimed Miss Lewicka had not been involved because she worked part-time and finished her day at 1pm, but the tribunal ruled that this was not an excuse.

Employment Judge Jennifer Bartlett said: “She could have been asked if she wanted to join in and her evidence that some lunch breaks were staggered was more convincing given the public facing nature of some of the roles.”

She added: “We accept that the lunches may have been ad hoc and they were informal. However, the claimant gave clear evidence that at Hemel a manager went around the site taking lunch orders and that she was included.

“However, when she moved to Watford she was not asked if she wanted to order or participate whereas other colleagues were.”

The tribunal also heard that Miss Lewicka has been victimised by colleagues as well.

She was made redundant in January 2019 after Hartwell said her role had to be made full-time.

However, the tribunal ruled that the dismissal was indirect sex discrimination.

Judge Bartlett  said: "[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 tribunal ruled that Miss Lewicka suffered victimisation, indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex, less favourable treatment as a part time worker and was unfairly dismissed.

Miss Lewicka was awarded £23,079 including compensation in respect of injury to feelings as well as loss of earnings.