Employment tribunals rule in favour of hybrid worker and menopausal woman

Employment tribunals have ruled in favour of women in two recent cases involving hybrid working and the menopause.

Illustration showing virtual meeting


A woman who had been allowed to work from home several days a week due to her caring responsibilities for her elderly mother has won a case against her employer after they decided to eliminate all remote working jobs.

Jayne Follows worked for Nationwide and had had her remote working agreed when the company decided to phase out home working contracts because of concerns that junior staff needed more supervision from managers who were physically present. Follows objected and was made redundant in 2018.

She claimed discrimination and unfair dismissal due to her remote working. An employment tribunal ruled that Nationwide had made the decision based on ‘subjective impressions’ which were not backed up by evidence and awarded Follows compensation of nearly £350,000.


In another tribunal ruling a woman was awarded £37,000 in compensation after her employer, Thistle Marine [Peterhead], claimed the menopause was her “excuse for everything” and her boss told her that she should ‘just get on with it’ after she called in sick due to heavy bleeding.

She said this attitude made her position with the company “untenable and intolerable”. The tribunal ruled that her employer was guilty of harassment and unfair dismissal.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] is to launch new menopause guidance for employers in the wake of a recent ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal that severe menopause symptoms can amount to a disability. In the first case of its kind, the EHRC is supporting former social worker Maria Rooney against Leicester City Council. She is claiming constructive dismissal due to symptoms of menopause and alleges that she was bullied, harassed and intimidated by her managers, resulting in her resignation. She also claims that the council failed to consider her absence reasons and an occupational health report recommending adjustments.

Meanwhile, East Midlands Ambulance Service has denied that it has introduced additional leave for men who suffer from the andropause, the so-called male equivalent of the menopause about which there is some dispute.

Tina Richardson, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at East Midlands Ambulance Service said it doesn’t have a separate policy on the andropause, but has issued supplementary guidance on it to ‘support conversations and provide available options for colleagues who are unwell’. She stated:  “It does not replace or supersede standard NHS terms and conditions of employment, which our organisation adheres to. Depending on an employee’s illness or injury, we may refer staff to occupational health, suggest lifestyle changes, and/or any reasonable adjustments to allow them to remain at work as they manage their own personal condition.”

Supreme Court ruling

Lawyers are also warning that a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday in relation to holiday pay and overtime could have significant implications for employers. 

In the case of Chief Constable of The Police Service of Northern Ireland [PSNI] and another v Agnew and others, the Court ruled that the PSNI will have to pay approximately £40 million in holiday pay to its officers because holiday pay did not include regular overtime.  

Jo Moseley, an expert from Irwin Mitchell’s employment team, said: “Today’s ruling is of major significance and has the potential to cost UK businesses millions of pounds.

“Many businesses will be concerned. Although the decision offers clarity on an issue that many organisations have been concerned about, employers won’t be able to use technical arguments to limit their liability for underpaid holiday pay claims. That said, the situation is slightly different in England, Wales and Scotland because the government introduced legislation to limit how far back individuals can bring unlawful deduction from wages claims, to two years. Northern Ireland didn’t do this. But, even with these restrictions, some employers will still have to pay their staff a substantial amount to settle their cases.”

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