As we’ve watched civility plummet in day-to-day interactions with our fellow humans, it was heartening to read how one horsewoman won a lawsuit in part due to her equine industry employer’s bad manners.
The case involved Charlotte Holloway, a groom at a large riding stable in England, who was engaged in negotiations over her return-to-work schedule following her second pregnancy. Holloway went to speak to her employer, Stephen Cooper at Durdans Stables, a prestigious former Epsom Derby-winning facility that services London and Surrey.
Holloway wanted to return to her former schedule to accommodate childcare, but Durdans wanted her to work different hours, including on the weekends. When the groom went to discuss the matter in person, not only was Cooper unwilling to compromise, but his partner also refused to dismount during the discussions, so everyone had to remain standing.
According the various press reports, Holloway was eventually rewarded a £4,000 ($6,600 CDN) in damages after the court found that Durdans Stables had discriminated against her and did not make reasonable efforts to accommodate her requests to remain on the same schedule, as though in punishment for her additional maternity leave.
But it was these remarks made by the employment court judge who presided over the case that we think makes the best argument for damages: “We also take account of the indignity of how [Mrs Holloway] was treated at the meeting… We’ve never come across anything like the situation where Mr. Cooper’s partner held the meeting on the horse, forcing everyone to stand.”
Poor etiquette in a sport where tradition and decorum once ruled should be punished.