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Menopausal Women Threaten Major Lawsuits, If Companies Don't Get Their Acts Together

·3-min read
Photo credit: Thomas Barwick - Getty Images
Photo credit: Thomas Barwick - Getty Images

Companies have been urged to update their policies to support menopausal women.

Over the last four years, employment tribunals referencing menopause have increased by almost double, according to The Times.

In other words, women who feel they have been discriminated against at work, on the grounds of ageing and specifically menopause, are seeking legal action in much higher numbers.

This supports the notion that women are growing in confidence when it comes to demanding employers cater for the needs of those experiencing the side effects of menopause and pushing their organisations to find ways to make sure the condition does not seriously affect their ability to continue working.

This comes at a time when menopausal women are the fastest growing working demographic in the UK, as outlined by the same publication.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service have shown that menopause was cited ten times in the first six months of 2021, and it has been said that this figure could rise to 20 by the end of the year, if the rate continues as it is.

Furthermore, according to the consultancy Menopause Experts, menopause was featured 116 times in employment tribunals in the first six months of 2021 solely, with that was expected to increase to 232, should the rate continue as it is.

In comparison, there were just five cases that referenced menopause in the last nine months of 2018.

Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images

Cases citing menopause have included a woman who said that her boss would humiliate her in front of colleagues and customers.

She was reportedly awarded £28,000.

Another woman, Aggie Kownacka, who worked in recruitment and was diagnosed with cancer, claimed she was made to feel as though the possibility of developing early menopause at 37, as a result, wasn’t a big deal.

Other claims have included unfair dismissal for developing depression and anxiety as side effects.

While it has been reported that of the five million working women aged 40 to 55 in Britain, 80% of them are said to have symptomatic menopause while employed, support for them has been noted as non-existent in many companies.

Addressing the need for more awareness and support when it comes to menopause, an employment partner at legal practice Linklaters has said, as per The Times that ‘the menopause revolution is coming’ and that ‘employers meed to wake up and leave themselves wide open to legal exposure if they don’t’.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

As for the figures, they are said to only account for cases that went to tribunal in England and therefore don’t show the full picture, considering the number of private settlements that weren't factored in to the data.

With complaints about menopause becoming increasingly common and more women having successfully fought their case, it is expected that further clients are set to come forward.

Dee Murray, chief executive of Menopause Experts told The Guardian: ‘I can see that this will carry on building until such time as there are some really big, group lawsuits, which I'm sure there will be.’

The Countess of Wessex, who is also a patron of the Wellbeing for Women charity, has previously opened up about the menopause.

She said: ‘It’s like someone has just gone and taken your brain out for however long before they pop it back in again, and you try and pick up the pieces and carry on,’ as per The Guardian.

The fight for the rights of menopausal women continues.

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