POSTED: March 04 2022
Sales assistant wins tribunal over menopause jibe

Sales assistant wins tribunal over menopause jibe

A sales assistant won a £20,000 payout after her male boss shouted that she “must be in her menopause” during an argument.
The worker was left humiliated by the “inappropriate and derogatory” remark, which came after a “relatively small argument” about an order mix up on 20 March 2020.The tribunal, held in east London, was told Mr Fletcher “made inappropriate and derogatory comments about her age and remarks, relevant to her sex as a woman, relating to his perception or ‘guess’ that she might be menopausal or be experiencing stereotypical menopausal symptoms including that her husband would start looking at other younger women”.

When Ms Best complained to his wife and business co-owner Andrea Fletcher, she is said to have been told to “stop moaning”. Four weeks later she was sacked for rude and confrontational communication with co-workers and managers – a decision she unsuccessfully appealed.

However, the tribunal ruled she was actually dismissed for raising safety concerns about the way staff and the business were dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and then victimised for complaining about Mr Fletcher’s comments. Ms Best had, on multiple occasions, raised concerns about Covid safety procedures at work, the tribunal was told. Although the Fletchers assured its customers it was following hygiene procedures, Ms Best claimed these were not implemented and enforced.

The panel heard she was “extremely worried” that neither the management nor the staff were consistently following the relevant rules and were endangering not only her health and safety but also others.Ms Best took her employers to the tribunal and will now receive the payout after winning claims of age and sex discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The tribunal, headed by employment judge Bernice Elgot, said: “Mr Fletcher invaded the claimant’s privacy, broached a highly sensitive topic for her and acted tactlessly in directly asking her, as an employee having the protected characteristic of sex as a woman, whether she was menopausal.

“We are satisfied that part of the reason for the company’s decision to dismiss Mrs Best is that she made a significant allegation of sexism and ageism against Mr David Fletcher.”

This case is a drop in the ocean when it comes to menopause; a recent survey found more than a million women with menopausal symptoms feel under pressure to quit their jobs.

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