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A senior executive has successfully claimed age and sex discrimination after being described as ‘menopausal’.


The employee had concerns that the company would need to close within four months if further investment wasn’t made – she made these concerns clear to the CEO. The CEO told another colleague that she was only acting like this ‘because she was menopausal’ and then failed to do anything about the concerns for over five weeks. The employee was also removed as a director and threatened with dismissal if she continued to pursue her concerns.

She resigned and brought claims for age and sex discrimination (amongst others). The tribunal found she had been discriminated against because a “male or younger female comparator” would not have had such a comment directed at them.

Practical takeaways 

Setting the tone – the obvious takeaway is that comments like this are unacceptable. However, ensuring senior team members set the right tone on topics such as menopause is key to ensuring a zero-tolerance approach throughout the rest of your business.

Education and understanding – a menopause policy is a great way to show your intention to create a culture of understanding, support those who may be experiencing symptoms, and provide your managers with the confidence to deal with situations appropriately and lawfully.

Training – great policies often fail without training to back them up. Around 77% of businesses still don’t train line managers about menopause (let alone the wider business!). Not only does training raise awareness, but it also shows that you’re serious about supporting and educating everyone throughout your business about these topics.

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.