In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the GHP Legal team, proposes to answer some of your problems. Today’s question is answered by attorney James Denton…
Q: As a woman in her mid-40s who is going through perimenopause, do I have the right to expect my employer to give me workplace benefits?
I ask because I find my employer’s attitude both unsympathetic and unhelpful when it comes to recognizing and treating my symptoms, which currently range from depression and irritability to hot flashes and problems urinary.
Last week he suggested that I should look for another job if I couldn’t cope with this one.
A: Conditions like perimenopause and menopause, which often have signs that aren’t visible, can cause even more distress if employers don’t recognize them and adopt workplace policies that support those who suffer from them. At present there is no legislation requiring employers to adopt a policy on menopause or to protect female workers with such symptoms, although greater public awareness is now putting pressure on bosses to create such policies.
That said, employers have several other legal responsibilities regarding the effects of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. For example, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (1974) obliges all employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all workers. And under the Occupational Health and Safety Management Act, employers must undertake risk assessments, which should include specific risks for those going through perimenopause and menopause, conditions which can also be classified as a disability under the Equality Act (2010)
So, keeping the above in mind, your employer should assess whether: changes need to be made to temperature and ventilation in the workplace to meet the needs of people with these conditions, uniforms are made of suitable material and there is easy access to a rest area, toilets, sanitary facilities and drinking water.
You must not allow your employer to intimidate you into leaving your job because he does not want to accommodate you. If they continue, you will be protected by some employment law, even if it is not specifically designed to cover perimenopause and menopause, and can take them to court.
• This question was answered by James Denton, attorney at GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, that is always possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to deliver our high levels of service to our customers. Whenever possible, we ask that you contact us by phone or email. If you have a new request or for a visit by appointment www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194.