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Menopause Tribunal – Director wins her case…

Date Added 02.11.22

Menopause is becoming an increasingly important topic in the workplace and was recently highlighted when a senior Director, who was told not to let her “hormones get out of control” won her Employment Tribunal Case.

Over recent years we have seen a growing number of tribunal claims citing the menopause and by association, age discrimination claims are also rising.

The recent case illustrating this concerns a female Finance Director, Louise McCabe, aged 55 at the time of her dismissal, who successfully brought claims against her former employer, Selazar Limited for the following:

  • Unfair dismissal;
  • Automatic unfair dismissal;
  • Age discrimination;
  • Detrimental treatment for making protected disclosures;
  • Wrongful dismissal; and
  • Unlawful deduction from wages.

McCabe, the Claimant, raised concerns about the executive culture and health & safety concerns regarding the treatment of employees throughout various board meetings.

Following these disclosures, Ms McCabe was:

  • Removed as a director;
  • Placed on garden leave;
  • Subjected to a disciplinary process without an opportunity to respond to any allegations;
  • Refused a request for an emergency general meeting on the grounds that it was “frivolous, defamatory and vexatious” despite it being supported by the whistleblowing report; and
  • Removed from documents issued and utilised by the respondent to facilitate additional investment in the company. including any mention of the Claimant being a founder of the Company or the CFO.

Factual responses by the Claimant such as, “I only have one pair of hands,” resulted in her being told by the CEO, who was aged 29 at the time, to “calm down…don’t let the hormones get out of control.” The CEO’s comments reveal their depiction of the Claimant as a “menopausal woman.”

The Company’s actions in removing McCabe as a company director without due process and attempting to source a “younger team member who is more in tune with a young tech start company” following her dismissal evidence the Company’s prejudice against older workers still engrained within some employers.

This case demonstrates the importance of having, and abiding by, clear and consistent policies in the workplace to tackle discriminatory language and practice.

Talk to us about how you can challenge bias and ageism in the workplace. Tollers can help you review your processes and procedures, including their application and the language used within. Our experienced Employment team can provide you with an Equal Opportunities policy and can talk to you about how to prevent menopause discrimination from becoming an issue in your workplace.

If you have a question related to supporting staff going through menopause or would like further information on how we can help… Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558. Our team is Here to help.

 

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