Employers need to be menopause friendly

Irish employers risk being sued for discrimination if they fail to make their workplaces menopause friendly, a leading treatment provider has warned. Loretta Dignam, founder and chief executive of The Menopause Hub, issued the warning as new guidelines in the UK state that severe menopausal symptoms can now be considered a disability if they have a “long-term and substantial impact” on an employee’s performance.

She said she expected similar guidelines to be introduced in Ireland later this year. “The latest development in Britain could open the floodgates in this country for a raft of fresh legal actions, based on gender, age and disability discrimination, raised by women in their 40s and 50s,” Dignam said. “Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman has commissioned research on menopause and menstrual health in the workplace.”

“Ireland tends to cherry-pick the latest developments in UK employment practices and apply them here. Irish employers must start to think about how they can make their working environments more menopause friendly. Simple adjustments, such as more training for HR staff and greater flexibility for employees going through menopause, not only bring benefits to the workplace, they also help protect employers from expensive legal battles.”


Research by The Menopause Hub found that one third of Irish women had seriously considered quitting their jobs because of the impact of menopausal symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, brain fog, and insomnia, was having on their performance at work. The survey of almost 3,000 women also found that one in seven had given up work as a result of menopause. Dignam held senior marketing roles at Mars, Diageo and Kerry Foods.

She was voted Marketer of the Year in 2011 for her work on putting marketing back at the forefront of Jacob Fruitfield’s operations based on the success of the company’s four pillar brands of Fig Rolls, Mallows, Cream Crackers and Elite. The judges noted Dignam’s ability to lead Jacob’s into profit, get the marketing fundamentals right and allow new product development (NPD) and marketing communications contribute to growth.





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