Employment Tribunal finds that the menopause was a disability in the case of a dismissed employee

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has been ordered to reinstate a court officer who was fired after confusion over whether her cystitis medication had been drunk by two men. She will also be paid £19,000.

Included in the award was £5,000 for injury to feelings for disability discrimination, as the Tribunal in Glasgow found that her dismissal was linked to disability in a rare instance of the menopause being cited in a disability claim.  The crux of the matter is that the employee mistakenly thought she had put some of her medication in water that was drunk by a third party and on investigation, the employer found this a gross breach of health and safety and dismissed her for gross misconduct.

At tribunal, the employer eventually conceded her disability at the time of her dismissal. The tribunal found her “a wholly credible and reliable witness”.

The tribunal found that the employer had both unfairly dismissed her and discriminated against her on grounds of disability, particularly as it had failed to consider her disability’s impact on her conduct.

The conclusion was that in some cases a woman who is going through the menopause may be disabled, provided that the symptoms she suffers from have a substantial adverse effect on her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

As well as the £5,000 granted for injury to feelings, the employer was ordered to pay £14,009.84 for lost pay between the date she was fired and the date she was due to be reinstated.

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