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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).

Practical takeaways

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.