Menopause in the Workplace
Recently Rollits invited a Menopause Specialist to speak to employees about the effects of menopause both in a personal and work context. This was a well-attended event by both male and female employees and was extremely informative. It is only recently that menopause has become a topic of conversation in a work context, however it is something employers should be aware of and address both to support staff who may be going through the menopause and to avoid any potential discrimination or harassment issues.
Menopause itself is not listed as a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act 2010 however if an employee or worker suffers detrimental treatment as a result of their menopause symptoms this may be grounds for a discrimination claim on the grounds of age, disability, sex or gender reassignment. Those suffering from severe menopause symptoms may be deemed disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.
The NHS recently introduced guidance regarding menopause in the workplace and have recommended that those suffering from symptoms of menopause and who work in the NHS should be allowed to work from home if necessary. However, there are various other measures that employers can put into place to support those going through the menopause, including ensuring offices have functional and effective air conditioning, offering on-site showering facilities, being flexible with uniform requirements and offering flexible working where necessary. Taking such steps can vastly improve the workplace environment for those suffering with menopausal symptoms and can support them in continuing to work through this time when they otherwise may not have been able to.
Hosting speaking events and/or circulating information regarding menopause can be useful to create awareness in the workplace. Such awareness may potentially make employees think twice about their actions and could assist in avoiding certain problematic scenarios such as ‘air-con wars’.
If you are an employer and are struggling to deal with issues arising from potential menopausal symptoms, or equally if you are an employee and believe you are suffering detrimental treatment connected to your menopause, our dedicated Employment Team can provide helpful guidance and advice or even assist with drafting a specific Menopause Policy for inclusion within a Staff Handbook.