Greenhithe Woman Wins Menopause Discrimination Lawsuit Against Former Employer Bronzeshield Lifting

Greenhithe Woman Wins Menopause Discrimination Lawsuit Against Former Employer Bronzeshield Lifting

Greenhithe Woman Wins Lawsuit Against Bronzeshield Lifting for Menopause Discrimination

Marie Johnson, an administration worker from Greenhithe, has successfully sued her former employer, Bronzeshield Lifting, for menopause discrimination. Ms. Johnson, who started working for the crane rental agency in Crayford, near Dartford, in December 1995, experienced symptoms of the menopause in January 2018. Despite her complaints, her boss, Martin Jones, ignored her and referred to her condition as the “Old Lady Disease.”

Ms. Johnson’s symptoms included low mood, anxiety, sleep problems, brain fog, and feelings of disorientation. She described it as feeling like she had a “goldfish bowl” on her head, which could last for hours or days. In an effort to manage her symptoms, Ms. Johnson requested flexible working from Mr. Jones. She asked to work a four-day week, with Fridays off, to accommodate the impact the menopause was having on her mental health.

Initially, Mr. Jones agreed to her request, allowing her to work 9-5 shifts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays until July of the following year. However, in July, Ms. Johnson requested her hours be changed again, with a half-day on Thursdays and Fridays off. She cited the heavy traffic at the Dartford Crossing and other major roads near the office as one of the reasons for her request. Ms. Johnson explained that in bad traffic, it could take her over an hour to get home.

During the tribunal, it was established that Ms. Johnson’s menopause made it harder for her to cope with the traffic, as her general resilience and ability to handle work and life had reduced. She also mentioned that she was going through some challenging times as she was caring for her elderly parents. Despite this, Mr. Jones declined her request, stating that Fridays were the busiest days for the business. He suggested she take carers’ leave instead.

In oral evidence, Mr. Jones admitted that he did not know much about menopause and did not ask Ms. Johnson about her symptoms. He claimed that he would not understand them anyway. Ms. Johnson handed in her notice on July 10, 2022, citing her disappointment that her change in circumstances was not taken into consideration.

The tribunal found that Mr. Jones’ lack of understanding and failure to make reasonable adjustments for Ms. Johnson’s menopause amounted to disability discrimination. The judge noted that it was not difficult to understand the symptoms of menopause and that Mr. Jones could have easily comprehended how it affected Ms. Johnson’s day-to-day life and work.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has recently issued guidance clarifying the legal obligations to workers going through menopause. Failing to make reasonable adjustments for those with long-term and substantial menopause symptoms is considered disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. This includes symptoms such as hot flushes, brain fog, and difficulty sleeping. Ms. Johnson’s successful lawsuit serves as an important reminder for employers to educate themselves and make necessary accommodations for employees going through menopause.

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