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Menopause discrimination

In the case of Lynskey v Direct Line Insurance Services Ltd ET1802204/2022, the employment tribunal found that the employer treated an employee unfavourably because of something arising from her disability and failed to make reasonable adjustments.

Mrs Lynskey worked for Direct Line Insurance Ltd as a tele-sales consultant from 2016 until her resignation in 2022.  In 2019 she started to experience menopause symptoms which adversely affected her work performance. Prior to this she had received good performance marks in the first four years of her employment.  In 2020, she was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance, depression and low mood and was prescribed antidepressants.

In 2020, she received a couple of customer complaints regarding her handling of a call and was given further training.  The employer carried out performance management proceedings and Mrs Lynskey received a disciplinary warning. During this process she was signed off sick and was referred to occupational health in which they advised that she was likely to be disabled. After she had received  13 weeks of sick pay she was informed that she could not receive any more sick pay. On 3 May 2022 she resigned, bringing claims for constructive dismissal and disability, age, and sex discrimination.

The tribunal upheld her claim for discrimination arising from disability and failure to make reasonable adjustments. The decision to give Mrs Lynskey an annual performance rating of requiring improvement, a formal written warning and to cease paying discretionary sick pay before her entitlement ended were found to be reasons of discrimination arising from disability. Although the company did make adjustments and provide additional support and training to Mrs Lynskey, the tribunal found that the company should have gone further.

The tribunal awarded the claimant compensation totalling £64,645, including £23,000 for injury to feelings. A £2,500 award was given for aggravated damages in relation to the company’s failure to accept that she was disabled until January 2023, and that it had constructive knowledge of her disability until the final hearing commenced in April 2023.