I am going through the perimenopause/menopause and suffer from severe migraines which are linked to hormonal changes. These have become more severe recently. My employers have a trigger of 5 separate sickness events during a 1 year period and I have now hit a trigger point for review. Part of this process involves setting attendance targets for me for the next 6 months. Given my condition, I cannot provide any guarantees that I won't be off sick with migraines within that period - in fact the lieklihood is that I will be. I have prescribed medication from my GP which alleviates but does not always control my migrainesAlthough my immediate line manager is supportive I do not feel that my employer has any flexibility within the HR policies to allow for genuine sickness of n on-going nature. Please could you advise me on the best approach for my review meeting next week
Province/Country relating to question: Wales
I have sent my Manager a copy of the TUC report 'Supporting women through the menopause' and explained my symptoms to him.
Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. Please let me know how long have you worked there for?
I have worked for the organisation for 7 years
Do you have any specific questions about this?
I am concerned about havng to agree to an attendance target at my review meeting as I cannot guarantee that I will not suffer from another migraine in a set timescale
ok thanks. Leave this with me. I just need to go into a meeting and as soon as I return I will get my advice ready. You will get an email when I have responded
Thanks for your patience. Disciplinary action against an employee due to their sickness record is a potentially fair reason to take such action. However, to justify it as being fair the employer needs to follow a fair procedure. The following is a summary of what needs to happen:
First and foremost the employer needs to comply with any relevant sickness or absence procedures and employment contract provisions.
Then they need to conduct an investigation, which would involve:
The employer then needs to review the alternatives:
Now you may have extra rights if your condition amounts to a disability. Disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of conditions that amount to a disability under law. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled for legal purposes, they need to establish whether they meet the definition of ‘disability’ as laid down in law.
Disability is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 (“EA”) and is defined as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
I will break down this definition so that you get a better idea of the requirements necessary for a condition to amount to a disability:
If you consider yourself to be disabled certainly mention this to the employer as they will need to treat you more sensitively in the circumstances and they would also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments. On top of that as this is a condition related to gender, any formal action could also amount to sex discrimination. There are a few factors to consider so do absorb the above advice and use it to formulate your response to your employer.
OK thanks - it would seem to boil down to ensuring my employer follows procedures. I ahve researched via internt and found a case Merchant v BT where the employer did not follow procedures to deal with menopause related sick leave and a tribunal found in favour of the employee on grounds of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. I do not expect my situation to reach this point but it is good to be as well informed as possible.
Expert in UK Employment Law
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