Pannone Corporate has strengthened its HR and employment law offering for businesses with the launch of a menopause toolkit.

The menopause toolkit will provide employers with a package of materials and legal support to ensure businesses can provide meaningful support to employees managing symptoms of the menopause. 

The launch follows a lengthy inquiry by the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) into menopause and the workplace at which Pannone Corporate gave evidence, providing legal insight from an employer’s perspective to illuminate best practice and shared challenges.

According to the WEC, almost a million women in the UK have left jobs as a result of menopausal symptoms. A recent survey commissioned by the committee also found that nearly a third of women miss work due to menopause symptoms and that the vast majority don’t ask for support, mainly because of concerns about how others may react.

The Pannone Corporate menopause toolkit includes an initial assessment of current relevant policies and procedures, a menopause policy which is tailored to each individual business and their needs, guidance for managers, delivery of staff training alongside the policy launch, and a six-month review meeting.

Chloe Pugh, an employment associate at Pannone Corporate, said: “The menopause is a topic that is being discussed in public arenas more than ever before and the subject is, quite rightly, becoming less of a taboo. As awareness of this issue increases, it is important that employers create a culture where staff feel they can request, and will get, support with any menopause related issues they are facing. A failure to deal with such requests appropriately or at all could result in businesses losing valuable employees and potentially facing tribunal claims for sex, age or disability discrimination.”

If you are interested in getting the menopause toolkit for your business, please get in touch with Fiona Hamor on fiona.hamor@pannonecorporate.com or call (0)7717 342049



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Background

The employee, who is of Pakistani descent and her religion is Islam, was working for a food retail company in the sales team. She pursued a claim for direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of her race and religion for various matters, including: 

Some of the allegations relied upon were outside of the Tribunal’s time limit, however the Tribunal had to consider all of the allegations to understand whether time should be extended on the basis that the treatment complained of was a ‘continuing act’. 

The ruling

All of the employee’s allegations failed. The Tribunal found that she was not treated differently because of her religious beliefs, nor was she forced to pick up an item that went against her belief or laughed at when she informed her manager that it was against her beliefs.

 Why is it important?

The case is a useful reminder that if a poorly performing employee is the only individual within the company of a certain race or religion, this will not necessarily translate into a claim if an employer can clearly evidence the underperformance.

The allegation that the employee was asked to purchase and handle an item of food that went against her religion is of particular interest. It’s likely that many employers in the food and hospitality industry will come across employees who adhere to certain values or beliefs. This may mean that they don’t consume or handle certain food or drink items for this reason, but who would be expected to handle such items during the ordinary course of their employment. 

This case serves to demonstrate that employers should be aware that there could be a risk of discriminating against employees if they are asked to handle items that go against their religious beliefs and they should be mindful of this when allocating tasks. 

The saving grace for the employer in this case is that no pressure was put on the employee to purchase or handle the pork product. In fact, when the manager in question was informed that this request went against the employee’s religion, he immediately told her he could organise for someone else to source this product, but the employee said she would be willing to do it provided her contact with the item was minimal.

If you would like to discuss any employment related concerns within your workforce, contact Katie Kennedy on Katie.Kennedy@pannonecorporate.com or call 07711 767099.

 

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