Our latest survey has revealed that female employees are hiding their menopause symptoms and discomfort to avoid discrimination in the workplace.
Our research: the stats
Our research shows that despite increased awareness by celebrities such as Davina McCall, women experiencing peri-menopause and menopausal symptoms are still embarrassed to talk about it at work (39%), and are in favour of additional menopause support from employers (60%). Despite it being their right, less than a third (29%) of women would feel comfortable asking for reasonable adjustments to support symptoms, such as an electric fan or flexible working hours. Less than half of women (49%) would feel able to raise a formal complaint if they felt they were being discriminated against as a result of experiencing menopause.
Less than half of women (42%) feel comfortable taking time off work for menopause-related symptoms, and if they were to take time off, almost half of the women surveyed (48%) admitted they would lie about the reason. Despite the Government’s renewed focus on supporting the over 50s back into the workforce, little has been done to mandate menopausal support and awareness in the workplace. Lime Solicitors’ research shows that lack of flexibility is a barrier, with over a third of women (37%) saying that menopausal symptoms would prevent them from re-entering the workforce.
What our experts say
Our Head of Employment, Neha Thethi, is calling for the implementation of menopause champions in all workplaces, to raise awareness of the many ways in which menopause impacts women at work and to ensure that all women know their workplace rights.
Neha says: “Our research shows that almost half of the women surveyed (44%) think that going through menopause will negatively impact their career, which is why so many women suffer in silence. It appears that employers are failing an important part of their workforce by not providing the necessary support or creating a positive culture whereby people can raise concerns or issues with confidence.”
Neha added: “To help dispel the stigma around menopause and empower women to speak freely and honestly about their experiences, we need menopause champions in all workplaces. Not only will this help women feel more comfortable raising a complaint, but it will also ensure that employers know how to offer the right support from the start, supporting both retention and attraction of experienced women.
Discrimination expresses itself in many forms and if a woman has ever felt discriminated against in the workplace, she should consider escalating the matter. While menopause itself is not a protected characteristic, there are still legal protections in place that women can rely on to safeguard against discrimination. Under the Equality Act, women can bring a sex, age, or disability claim if they think their employer has fallen foul of their obligations.”
Get in touch with Neha
If you’d like to talk to Neha about a potential discrimination claim and how our team can help, please call us free on 0808 164 0808 today.