A WOMAN has won her case for discrimination after an industrial tribunal ruled that her menopause was a disability.
Mandy Davies’ was awarded more than £19,000 and given her job back after taking the challenging the Scottish Courtsand Tribunal Service (SCTS) decision to sack her.
The court officer’s victory is one of only a handful where the menopause has been cited in a disability claim, and a very rare instance of someone being reinstated to their job after winning a tribunal.
She launched her legal claim after being sacked from her job last year, despite an unblemished record of 20 years’ service.
A judgement on the case said that she had begun to suffer substantial medical problems related to the menopause, with symptoms including heavy bleeding – sometimes for several weeks – along with stress, anxiety, palpitations, memory loss and pins and needles in her hands and feet.
She also endured tiredness, light-headedness and was at a risk of fainting, but kept working and was prescribed medicine for a bout of cystitis.
Ms Davies stored the drug – which came in granules that were distilled in liquid – in a pencil case on her desk and added it to her water jug which she drank from during the day.
However, on one occasion when she returned from an adjournment she found two men in the area drinking water from the jug, and became concerned they had consumed her medication.
Voices were raised, and the judgment noted that one of the men “launched into a rant and made comments to the effect of ‘trying to poison the two old guys in the court’ and asking if he would grow ‘boobs’”.
The man, who was appearing at court that day, would later lose his case but was granted leave to appeal after arguing the incident had caused him to lose focus. However, the appeal was subsequently dismissed because there was no legal basis for it.
Meanwhile, Ms Davies was asked to attend a Health and Safety (H&S) meeting, where it was decided there was no medication in the water, and that she would have known that.
A report concluded she had not shown the “values and behaviours” expected of SCTS staff, had shown no remorse over the incident, and had brought embarrassment to the organisation.
She had also breached Health and Safety rules by not securing her medication and knowingly misled officials about it being in the water. Ms Davies was not suspended during this time, and allowed to stay in her job.
The H&S report would later form the basis of the disciplinary procedures against Ms Davies which led to her losing her job for gross misconduct.
However, employment Judge Lucy Wiseman found that the process had been flawed as the H&S investigation had exceeded its remit, while Ms Davies was legitimately confused about whether she had put medicine in the water because of the symptoms she was experiencing.
During the tribunal, the SCTS conceded her disability and that she was disabled at the time of her dismissal, while Ms Davies was found to be “a wholly credible and reliable witness”.
Judge Wiseman ruled that the SCTS had both unfairly dismissed Davies and discriminated against her on grounds of disability, particularly as it had failed to consider her disability’s impact on her conduct.
Ms Davies was awarded £5,000 the injury to her feelings caused by the dismissal, and the SCTS was ordered to pay £14,009.84 for lost pay.
A spokesman for the SCTS said: “The SCTS respects the decision of the Employment Tribunal and is currently considering the judgment.”