In Brief: Menopause Special

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 2 August 2021
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Menopause; Case Law; Workplace Policies; Gender Equality

This month’s 'In Brief' is all about menopause in the workplace.  Awareness of the importance of recognising and providing support for women experiencing symptoms of Menopause has become heightened this year, and lots of useful resources and articles have been produced. We’ve pulled them all together in the same place, so you don’t have to.

Menopause And Work. What Does One Have to Do With The Other?

Sometimes nothing. And it would be great if that was always the case. Some women sail through their menopause with barely a symptom, but it’s not an easy transition for all. The website “Menopause in the Workplace” has some useful statistics demonstrating why menopause is an important issue and should be included in any HR strategy.

The CIPD has reported on an international survey of 5,012 employees who had gone through the menopause and were in work at some point during it, conducted by Vodafone, 33 per cent said they hid symptoms and nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) said it had impacted them at work. 

Helpful Resources

The CIPD has practical guidance for line managers on what a manager needs to know about the menopause to effectively support their team.  

Lewis Silkin provides some guidance for employers on the legal issues associated with the menopause and outline what employers should be doing in this helpful article.

The Menopause is a useful source of news items and links for women going through the menopause with links to podcasts, news and health and lifestyle articles.  

Legal Island Resources

Caroline Reidy of the the HR Suite sets out some considerations by employers to help facilitate women with menopause in the workplace here.

eLearning Course - The menopause is a difficult subject to talk about - it is intensely personal, but it is also essential to understand how it affects people's ability to perform at work.

The purpose of this course is to improve your staff’s understanding of the menopause and help create a more comfortable working environment for women experiencing the menopause. This course is for all employees, regardless of gender.

To find out more about this course and for your FREE demo on behalf of your organisation click here.

Menopause Policies

Organisations such as Vodafone, Channel 4 (UK)Edelman UK & Ireland  have announced the introduction of menopause policies and in June 2021, the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told the Dáil that work was underway to develop a menopause workplace policy which would include measures that allow work adjustments for women going through menopause, such as flexible working, guidance around sickness leave, and time off for appointments that might be needed – find out more here.  

This announcement followed a series of menopause stories that were shared by women during the Liveline show on RTE radio 1 and you can listen again to these again here.

Case Law

In GB there have been a few cases over the years dealing with the subject of menopause that might be of interest to readers in Ireland to show the direction of travel in this matter.

Merchant v British Telecommunications plc [2011]

Failure to treatment menopause as you would any other medical condition can amount to direct sex discrimination.  A full case review can be found here.

Ms M Davies v Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service [2018]

If menopause symptoms are sufficiently long term and substantial, it may be deemed a disability. The full case can be found here.

A v Bon Marche Ltd [2020]

A claimant subjected to a lengthy course of harassment and abuse by her line manager in relation to being a female of menopausal age was found to have been discriminated against.  The full case is here

In The Media

In Northern Ireland, high-profile women, prompted by an initial Tweet by the BBC’s Marie-Louise Connolly, shared their personal experiences of the menopause on social media. More here.

Over on Channel 4, Davina McCall presented her story entitled “Sex, Myths and the Menopause”. A link to this interesting and candid documentary can be found here.  

And if you, or your employees, need a helpful App, here’s one to try out:

This article is correct at 02/08/2021

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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