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Flexible working requests and the dangers of overlooking menopausal symptoms

In Ms J v Bronzeshield Lifting Ltd, Ms. J experienced severe menopausal symptoms and requested flexible working arrangements, initially granted but later refused. The employer’s failure to consider her condition led to her resignation, resulting in a successful constructive unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim. This case highlights the importance of considering health issues in flexible working requests.

In Ms J v Bronzeshield Lifting Ltd Ms. J, a long-serving Administrator at Bronzeshield Lifting Ltd, experienced severe menopausal symptoms affecting her work and daily life.

She requested a flexible working schedule to accommodate her health and caring responsibilities, which was initially granted temporarily but later refused when she sought further adjustments.

The employer rejected her request without considering her menopausal symptoms, leading Ms. J to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal and discrimination.

The employer failed to consider Ms. J’s menopause, leading to direct disability discrimination.

The tribunal found that a different serious medical condition would have been treated more empathetically.

Ms. J’s sex discrimination claim was rejected.

The tribunal accepted the employer’s practical reasons for refusing the request, dismissing the second disability and sex discrimination claims.

The employer’s failure to consider menopause in the decision-making process was a repudiatory breach of trust and confidence, leading to Ms. J’s successful constructive unfair dismissal claim.

Employers must thoroughly explore the reasons behind flexible working requests, especially when health issues are involved.

Appropriate training on disability and menopause is essential to avoid discrimination and breaches of trust.

Employers should handle flexible working requests carefully to prevent constructive dismissal claims and the potential loss of valuable employees.

Source: Lexology

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