Menopause at work

Going through the menopause at work can be challenging, and it can sometimes make it difficult to carry out your job as normal. Some menopausal symptoms may include memory loss, insomnia and hot flushes, which can affect job performance.

Although menopause isn’t classed as a disability, and there isn’t any menopause discrimination legislation currently, it does not mean that you aren’t protected.

Can you bring menopause claims?

Menopause is not one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. But, if your employer puts you at a disadvantage because you are going through the menopause, this could be grounds for bringing a discrimination claim to the Employment Tribunal or, if you are dismissed, a dismissal claim:

Age discrimination and menopause

As an employee, you are protected from being treated less favourably because of your age. If you are treated less favourably because you’re going through the menopause, it could give rise to an age discrimination claim, given that menopause usually begins within a certain age bracket. This may also be relevant to younger employees, who may go through medical or early menopause. An example of age discrimination could be if your fellow employees make fun of you because you are going through the menopause.

Find out more about age discrimination >>

Sex discrimination and menopause

If you are treated unfairly because of your sex, this would give rise to a sex discrimination claim. Any unwanted behaviour or comments about your menopause symptoms could count as harassment, or sexual harassment, depending on the situation.

Find out more about sex discrimination >>

Types of dismissal and menopause

There are three types of dismissal that are recognised at the Employment Tribunal. These are:

  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Unfair dismissal
  • Constructive dismissal

If you believe you have been dismissed under any of these categories, and you believe the reasoning is related to you going through the menopause, you may have grounds to bring a dismissal claim.

Find out more about the types of dismissal >>

Disability discrimination and menopause

Although menopause is not classed as a disability, the Employment Tribunal has stated that certain symptoms associated with the menopause can be classed as a disability. This means a disability discrimination claim relating to menopause could be successful depending on the circumstances.

Under the Equality Act 2010, disability is defined as a “physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.” As stated above, certain symptoms of the menopause such as memory loss could fall under this category.

Find out more about disability discrimination >>

Gender reassignment and menopause

As gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, there may be grounds for a claim if non-binary or transgender people, who are going through the menopause, are disregarded on the basis of identifying differently.

Find out more about gender reassignment discrimination >>

Menopause support in the workplace

It’s important for employers to make sure any employees going through the menopause are supported in the workplace. While having a Menopause Policy isn’t a legal requirement, many employers will have put together a policy to make sure their employees feel supported and acknowledged. The policy might outline reasonable adjustments, which could include:

  • Allowing regular breaks for employees struggling with menopause symptoms;
  • Enabling flexible working arrangements;
  • Acknowledging the need for time off work and medical appointments;
  • Providing a “champion” within the business for menopausal employees to go to if they need support;
  • Making sure employees are not wrongfully, unfairly or constructively dismissed because of the menopause;
  • Providing desk fans for employees who are experiencing hot flushes as part of the menopause.

ACAS menopause at work help

According to ACAS, “employers should make sure they have steps, procedures and support in place to help staff affected by the menopause.” It is expected that employers will know how menopause relates to the law, aligning with both the Equality Act 2010 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Talk to us about menopause in the workplace

If you are going through the menopause and you believe your employer has treated you less favourably as a result, or has refused to make adjustments in order to support your needs, you may be eligible to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

Please feel free to get in touch with our employment law solicitors as soon as possible. You can call us on 0808 164 0808, or request a call back, and we will call you.

Disclaimer

You have three months less one day from the most recent act of discrimination to take action, meaning you should act fast. We recommend you speak to one of our lawyers in the first instance.  Please be aware that the ACAS process can take up to around six weeks to complete, which will be taken from the three months you have to begin with. It is important to act quickly in order to bring a tribunal claim. If the conciliation period is unsuccessful, we may be able to support you with the tribunal. If you feel you have a potential employment claim please act quickly and contact us today.