Is the Menopause Considered a Disability?

Menopause is something that all women will go through when they reach a certain age. Some women breeze through it, others can suffer from more serious symptoms. Severe bleeding, anxiety, and memory loss are all common issues, and they can lead to difficulties in the workplace. The Equality Act does not list menopause as a protected characteristic but may be considered a disability under discrimination laws.

Menopause is considered a normal part of ageing, and this means that simply going through menopause is not a disability. however, the symptoms of menopause can combine to qualify as something that could be classed as a disability under Section 6 of the Equality Act. If a woman is experiencing symptoms that are long-term and that have a substantial impact on her ability to perform day-to-day activities, then that woman may be able to request that there be certain changes made to the workplace or to her work duties to support them while they are going through a difficult time.

There have been cases of women who are going through menopause or perimenopause being able to win tribunals because they were experiencing debilitating symptoms and their employers did not make suitable accommodations for them during that time.

What to do if You Are Struggling With the Menopause

If you are going through perimenopause or menopause, and you are struggling to cope, it is important that you seek advice from a doctor. They may be able to recommend lifestyle changes, hormone treatments or other ways of managing the symptoms so that you can continue with your day-to-day life. Some women respond very well to exercise, yoga, meditation, or diet changes. Some need medications to manage symptoms.

If you still find that you are struggling, be proactive and talk to your employer. It may be that they can give you some time off work while you try different treatments to find something that you respond to. It could be that they can offer flexible working arrangements, or even make smaller accommodations such as flexibility with the uniform or letting you control the thermostat for your office so that hot flashes are less of a problem.

Being proactive is important because if your employer does not know what is going on they cannot help you. Starting the process of asking for help early on will reduce the risk of your issue going to tribunal, and will reflect well on you if the employer has to consider taking steps to change the nature of your work. Contact DPH Legal for advice on workplace matters.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as formal legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Specific legal advice should be sort tailored to the individual circumstances in all cases.

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    We can be contacted 24 hours a day.
    Our Reading Head Office address is:

    Davidson House
    Forbury Square
    RG1 3EU
    0118 914 5622
    07850 952245