A tribunal has ordered Direct Line to pay almost £65,000 in compensation after failing to make reasonable adjustments for an employee affected by menopause symptoms. Here’s what you need to know.
The employee’s menopause symptoms meant she began to struggle to meet usual performance standards. She accepted an offer to move to another role (at a lower salary) but again struggled with performance, with ‘confidence issues’ being cited. She was threatened with disciplinary action if her performance didn’t improve.
An occupational health report advised that her symptoms probably amounted to a disability and suggested eight reasonable adjustments to support her. Despite this, her employer issued her with a first-stage warning with a “success plan” and failed to make the adjustments suggested. She resigned and brought a claim for failure to make reasonable adjustments and disability discrimination. The tribunal agreed and awarded £23,000 for injury to feelings, £2,500 for aggravated damages, and over £30,000 for loss of past and future earnings (plus interest).
Policy – introducing a menopause policy will help to build a more open culture of understanding to support those affected. It will also help guide situations like this and ensure those involved are clear about their responsibilities.
Training – a great policy often fails without training. Did you know 77% of businesses don’t train their line managers about menopause? Training colleagues helps them to approach conversations with confidence and ensure they are respectful of the law and the individual’s needs.
Understanding – every individual is different. Securing expert support (an occupational health report in this case but other options are available) means you’re equipping yourselves with the tools to deal with the situation appropriately.
Actions – it’s no good having a great policy, delivering training, taking expert views and then ignoring it all. You need to show you’re respectful of your own policies, follow the training you’ve given, embraced expert opinion and then delivered a course of action in line with legal and business requirements.
Advice – early advice means legal and cultural goals can be achieved and avoids ‘unpicking’ legal breaches (if possible).
Haven’t yet introduced a menopause policy? We’ve got one ready for you on our Intelligent Employment platform – click here.
This update is accurate on the date it was published, but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
The Menopause Workplace Pledge has seen over 600 UK employers sign up to help employees manage menopause at work. With one in 10 women likely to leave their job because of menopause symptoms, taking practical steps to support can only have a positive impact. Here are a few ideas…
Menopause policy – to proactively build a more open culture of understanding to support those affected. A great policy is just the beginning – it’s all about how you put it into practice. You’ll find our menopause policy on Intelligent Employment.
Training – did you know that 77% of businesses don’t train their line managers about menopause? Creating understanding around menopause isn’t just for those who may be affected. Training all colleagues will help normalise discussion and enable them to approach conversations with confidence.
Proactive steps – you could create menopause champions within the workplace as a first stop for those impacted, ensure any uniform is lightweight and breathable, provide portable desktop fans, or cover the cost of NHS HRT prescriptions.
Thinking flexibly – everyone’s experience will be different – think about how you can facilitate different working patterns or home-working arrangements for individuals who might be more comfortable managing symptoms at home.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg – we’d love to hear what support you have in place or what ideas you’re looking to introduce!
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (12 May 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
42% of women consider leaving their job due to menopause symptoms. ‘Menopause champions’ can help support employees to manage challenges alongside work commitments, raise concerns or find additional support where required. What other steps can you consider?
Menopause policy – a great starting point to proactively build a more open culture of understanding supporting those affected. You’ll find our menopause policy on Intelligent Employment.
Training – creating understanding around menopause isn’t just for those who may be affected. Training all colleagues will help them to approach conversations with confidence.
Zero-tolerance – ‘banter’, jibes or inappropriate comments relating to the menopause can be dealt with and supported by menopause champions. A recent case has shown that comments like “must be in her menopause” still exist.
Get in touch if you need our advice or support if you’re thinking of introducing menopause champions.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (20 January 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.