In many situations, women’s Menopause is still a taboo subject, but in the workplace, including that of your domestic staff, it has to be recognised and taken into account.
In 2017 the government published a report “Menopause: effects on women s’ economic participation.” Prior to that in 2012 Ms. M. who had been dismissed took her employees, BT to tribunal on the grounds of gender discrimination.
Her claim was upheld and the tribunal heard that she was experiencing difficult menopausal symptoms, which were affecting her performance at work. Her GP outlining her symptoms, confirmed that she was suffering difficult menopause symptoms, including stress and poor concentration.
The tribunal upheld Ms. M’s claim ruling that the manager would not have approached a non-female-related condition in the same way. They also found the employer would have treated a man suffering from similar symptoms differently.
Now things have moved on and recently a woman won her tribunal case against her employer for dismissal on the grounds of disability discrimination.
The woman was employed by the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services. She had admitted to an error in that she had added medication to water which others then drank. However, it was subsequently shown that she had not, in fact, added the medication.
Despite this she was subjected to a rigorous investigation which concluded her conduct was a breach of her employer’s values and behaviours. The tribunal found this went far beyond the issues it should have been examining.
The employee was suffering severe menopause symptoms, had become severely anaemic and also felt “fuzzy”, emotional and lacking in concentration at times. She had already been referred to a menopause clinic where she was put on a form of hormone replacement therapy.
After being dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct and an unsuccessful appeal she took her case to an employment tribunal which ruled that she had been unfairly dismissed and subjected to disability discrimination. The tribunal ordered reinstatement to her post,
£14,000 to compensate her for lost pay between the period of dismissal and reinstatement, plus £5,000 in respect of injury to feelings.
Of course not all women suffer from the same symptoms, but it does raise the issue that a woman’s menopause MAY affect her work and that you, as her employer, must take this into account.
Failing to do so and making adverse decisions may well see you facing an employment tribunal with the possibility of paying compensation.
As in all employment issues we strongly advise taking appropriate professional advice before taking any action.
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.