She wasn’t invited to ‘pizza Fridays,’ so a judge gave her $32,000

May 11, 2021, 4:23 PM UTC
Pizza: Hold the Marmite per favore
A U.K. woman won $32,000 in damages after being left out of “pizza Fridays” at her office.
Mike Pont/Getty Images/NYCWFF—Getty Images

A British woman who was deliberately left out of monthly free lunches at her workplace has been awarded more than $32,000 as part of a workplace discrimination suit.

Malgorzata Lewicka, a receptionist and service adviser at a Ford dealership in the U.K., says the problems started in 2018 after she filed formal complaints about her hours, pay, and gender discrimination. She eventually went to work at another branch of the dealership, but says she was ostracized, and while other staffers were treated to lunch on “pizza Friday” once each month, she was never asked for her order. She was eventually let go in 2019.

An employment judge ruled in Lewicka’s favor, saying, “We accept that the lunches may have been ad hoc and they were informal. However [Lewicka] gave clear evidence that at [the first job site] a manager went around the site taking lunch orders and that she was included. However, when she moved to [the second], 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.”

The dealership says Lewicka was excluded because her shift ended at 1 p.m. and she was laid off because the company wanted to make the job full-time. The judge didn’t buy that, saying Lewicka was discriminated against for being a single mother with childcare commitments.

Lewicka was awarded £23,079 ($32,631) in damages and lost wages.

Gender discrimination remains a significant problem in a variety of career fields. A February 2021 study of internal medicine employees found females were almost universally mistaken by patients for nonphysician roles and often subject to inappropriate looks, remarks, and gestures by male peers.

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