Female Employee Awarded £65,000 as Compensation in Menopause Discrimination Case (Mrs M Lynskey v Direct Line Insurance Services Ltd)
In the case of Mrs M Lynskey v Direct Line Insurance Services Ltd, a female employee wins her claim for menopause discrimination.
The Facts in Mrs M Lynskey v Direct Line Insurance Services Ltd
Mrs M Lynskey (“The claimant”) was employed by Direct Line Insurance Services Ltd (“The Respondent”) as a motor sales consultant from 11 April 2016. She was thriving in this role and even received “good” and “very good” in her performance ratings.
As part of the company’s way to resolve issues within the workforce, a new initiative was introduced known as “Best For Customer (BFC)”. This required all sales staff to be re-trained in 2019.
However, the claimant started suffering from menopause around the same time. Some early symptoms included “brain fog” and difficulties with her concentration and retaining information. She was often tearful which continued during her career with the Respondent.
Her performance suffered, and she was subject to performance improvement procedures (PIP). During the course of her employment, the Claimant argued that she:
- Should have had reasonable adjustments made to her job role to counteract the menopausal symptoms;
- Was a victim of menopause discrimination since she was not awarded a pay raise;
- Had been subjected to unfavourable treatment because of something arising out of her disability, namely disciplinary action;
- Was discriminated against because of her age and sex; and
- Was subject to constructive unfair dismissal.
Some Key Events Influencing the Decision of the Employment Tribunal:
- In June 2020, the Claimant was transferred into a different role, rather than the Respondent making the necessary adjustments to her existing position.
- From 1 July 2020, the Claimant was required to meet the same performance standards in the telematics role, following the move to home working due to Covid. She found this more difficult because of her disability and, hence, was more likely to be subject to disciplinary proceedings. The Respondent failed to make the necessary reasonable adjustments.
- In January 2021, the Claimant was informed by her line manager, Danielle Wilburn, that she would not be receiving a pay raise because her performance had been rated “need for improvement”.
- On 30 April 2021, the Respondent commenced formal performance management proceedings against the Claimant despite her having made the Respondent aware of her disability, associated symptoms of menopause, and how they affected her ability to perform her work.
- The Claimant resigned on 4 May 2022 claiming disability discrimination and other claims around age and sex discrimination as well as constructive unfair dismissal.
The Decision of the Employment Tribunal
The employment tribunal found in favour of the Claimant in her claims against the Respondent for menopause discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments.
In their analysis of what amounted to discrimination, it was found that the comments “need for improvement” after four years of favourable reports and the loss of a pay increase amounted to unfavourable treatment that arose from her disability. Her ability to “improve” was hindered by the symptoms associated with her disability, i.e., mental impairment because of menopause.
Her other claims relating to age and sex discrimination as well as constructive unfair dismissal were not upheld by the tribunal. The Claimant was awarded a total of £64,645.07 in compensation.
Our Lawyers View
Steve Norton, lawyer at Redmans, says: This is an interesting case in the developing area of disability linked to menopause. It builds on the growing recognition of the effect of women suffering from menopausal symptoms in the workplace.