Louise Quigley successfully represented a NHS Trust in defeating a complex menopause sex and disability discrimination claim. The Claimant was suffering from extreme menopause symptoms which were deemed to be a disability.
The Claimant claimed that she had been directly discriminated because of her menopause by other female colleagues who disbelieved her symptoms and falsely accused her of aggressive behaviour and "using the menopause as an excuse". She also claimed associative indirect disability and sex discrimination for a failure to allow home working during the pandemic.
The Tribunal made findings that the Claimant had in fact behaved aggressively to colleagues, unreasonably took offence when issues were raised and that her behaviour was not due to "something arising in consequence of her disability". It accepted that the comments she had "used the menopause as an excuse" was because of her conduct, not her disability and colleagues were entitled to express their honest and accurate views about her conduct and were not harassment.
The Tribunal accepted that in light of the revised Section 19A Equality Act 2020 that indirect associative discrimination was permissible in law but that the Claimant had to share the group disadvantage, which she did not. Further, the Tribunal accepted that the Tribunal could not take judicial notice of the fact that woman were more likely to have caring responsibilities due to the pandemic as the burden of caring materially changed and could not be said to be gender biased in those circumstances.