An analysis of employment tribunal records by the social enterprise, Menopause Experts Group (MEG), has found that complaints citing the menopause have tripled in less than two years.
The survey found that in 2021, the menopause was cited in 23 employment tribunal complaints, compared to seven in 2019 and 16 in 2020. In 2017, menopause was only cited in five cases. Menopause was also mentioned 207 times in tribunal documents in 2021, an increase of 75 per cent from 118 mentions in 2020.
The analysis also found that although two-fifths of menopause claims in employment tribunals were resolved within a month of the hearing, three cases took more than two years. Of the 23 tribunal cases last year, 16 cited disability discrimination, ten claimed sex discrimination and 14 took the employer to task for unfair dismissal.
MEG recommends, therefore, that employers develop and implement a menopause policy for the workplace to minimise the risk of legal action from workers. The Group also recommends that, just as with mental ill-health, employers nominate menopause champions in the workplace, so that women know that someone in the organisation will listen to them and ideally signpost them to other resources. It also calls on employers to train their employees in the symptoms, signs, and side effects of menopause.
These recommendations chime with a recent report by the Fawcett Society, which found that one in 10 women had left their job due to their symptoms; while eight out of 10 complained that their employer hadn’t shared information, trained staff, or put a menopause absence policy in place.
The Women and Equalities Committee also carried out an inquiry into menopause and the workplace last year. In its fourth report, published in February 2022, it found that although most menopausal women reported experiencing symptoms that affected them negatively at work, most did not report them to their employer.
Becky Hill, regional managing partner for Thompsons in Nottingham, who has run joint sessions with trade union clients on the issues that menopausal women face, commented that: “It’s good to see the attention this issue is now getting. The findings chime with the research we looked into whilst preparing for the sessions we have run. For many, the menopause can be life-altering and therefore having the right support in place is critical.”
To read the analysis by the Menopause Experts Group, click here.
To read the report by the Fawcett Society, click here.
To read the Women and Equalities Committee fourth report, click here.