Employment tribunals related to the menopause are increasing as a parliamentary committee prepares to report on whether legislative changes are needed to protect older women at work.
Employment tribunals involving menopause are increasing although from a low base, according to analysis of court records.
The analysis by Menopause Experts Group shows there were 23 employment tribunals referencing menopause in 2021, compared to 16 in the previous year. ‘Menopause’ was mentioned 207 times in tribunal documents in 2021 compared to 118 mentions in 2020.
The Women and Equalities Committee is currenty conducing an inquiry into menopause and the workplace, looking at issues such as legislative changes to address discrimination related to the menopause. However, it is thought that such legislation could prove difficult to enforce and monitor and that it may simply recommend that employers should have a menopause policy.
Of the 23 tribunals referncing menopause last year, 16 cited disability discrimination, 10 claimed sex discrimination and 14 were on the basis of unfair dismissal.
One employment tribunal in Hull heard how a factory worker was reprimanded for undoing her top button, despite having told her employer she suffering hot flushes due to menopause.
Two fifths of menopause employment tribunals were resolved within a month of the hearing, but three cases took more than two years.
Menopause Experts Group is calling on employers to offer their employees training about the symptoms, signs and side-effects of the menopause.
Dee Murray, founder and CEO at Menopause Experts Group, which offers training and resources for employers, said: “Employers are starting to get the message about menopause in the workplace, but the growing number of employment tribunals in this area show that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“Too many policies aren’t taking women’s needs into account, and more and more employees are showing that they are happy to stand up for themselves.
“The lack of education is dangerous for women’s health and unfair to their careers.
“What’s frustrating is the fact that there are so many training courses available to employers. Teaching our colleagues about menopause is vital if we are going to remove the stigma surrounding what is a big part of a woman’s life.”