Employment tribunals citing menopause rise by 44% year on year, report finds
Employment tribunals involving menopause have increased by 44% year on year, according to an analysis of court records by Menopause Experts Group in its annual The Trials Of Menopause Report.
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, an increase of 75% on the 118 mentions in 2020.
The Women and Equalities Committee’s inquiry into menopause and the workplace is likely to be published in the coming weeks, and is expected to recommend that employers must have a menopause policy.
Of the 23 tribunals last year, 16 cited disability discrimination, ten claimed sex discrimination and 14 took the employer to task for 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, 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.”
Adam Pavey, employment lawyer and non-executive director at Menopause Experts Group, added: “Awareness of menopause is far greater than last year, but we’re still seeing employers making the same mistakes when it comes to how they treat their employees.
“Parliament’s Women and Equality Committee is soon to report back on the findings of its Menopause And The Workplace inquiry, and we’re hoping that they make some concrete recommendations that will improve the situation.”
He continued: “Making menopause a protected characteristic is one option, but it is difficult to enforce and monitor, so the committee could push for a requirement that all employers have a menopause policy or a code of conduct, and increase penalties for firms that do not comply.
“Menopause tribunals are still divided between sex discrimination and disability discrimination cases, and the committee’s recommendation could help remove some of the confusion.”