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Inquiry on whether the menopause should be legally protected under employment law

As part of its inquiry into menopause in the workplace, in January 2022 the Women and Equalities Select Committee listened to evidence from employment lawyers. One of the discussions that took place was whether the menopause should become a legally protected characteristic for discrimination claims.

The inquiry found that some women reported they face discrimination if they are (or are perceived to be) going through the menopause, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms. For example, some women stated they have received inappropriate comments, or they have not been chosen for a promotion. However, for many women who feel they have been discriminated against because they are going through the menopause, currently one of their only options is to rely on rules relating to disability discrimination or sex discrimination.

The Committee also heard it would be beneficial to release increased guidance and awareness of the issues, to ensure employees and employers are clear on the obligations of their business when employees are going through the menopause.