Timely case as Menopause Awareness Month begins

Timely case as Menopause Awareness Month begins
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is supporting the case of an ex-council employee who claims she was constructively dismissed because of menopause.

The claimant, Rooney, was employed by EHRC as a social worker for Leicester City Council in 2017 and 2018. She began suffering from menopause symptoms, and anxiety and depression, and she took periods of extended sickness leave from her job. She made her employer aware of her symptoms.

The absence resulted in a formal warning. Rooney felt that the management of her absences by her employer, Leicester City Council, was insensitive and heavy-handed, which led to her resignation in 2018.

Rooney raised two separate tribunal claims; first for constructive dismissal, non-payment of holiday and overtime, and reimbursement for expenses. She then submitted a second claim form asserting disability and sex discrimination on the grounds of her disability due to the menopause.

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The Employment Tribunal held that Rooney was not disabled despite evidence that her symptoms resulted in her “forgetting to attend events, meetings and appointments, losing personal possessions, forgetting to put the handbrake on her car and forgetting to lock it, leaving the cooker and iron on and leaving the house without locking doors and windows. She also spent prolonged periods in bed due to fatigue/exhaustion. She further refers to dizziness, incontinence and joint pain”.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal, in the first ever appeal involving disability and menopause, overturned the decision and held that Rooney was disabled.

Now that preliminary point has been concluded, the case has now progressed to a determination of whether Rooney was discriminated against because of her disability.

EHRC Chair, Baroness Kishwer Falkner, said: “Menopause symptoms can significantly affect someone’s ability to work. Employers have a responsibility to support employees going through the menopause — it is to their benefit to do so, and the benefit of the wider workforce. Every employer should take note of this hearing.”

It’s worth noting that October is World Menopause Awareness month.

For information on supporting employees with menopause, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Is menopause a protected characteristic?

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