Employee sues boss for being insensitive to menopause symptoms; wins

The employee of a Scottish engineering firm won Rs 37.5 lakh in compensation


Being insensitive to his employee’s menopausal symptoms landed a boss in deep trouble. Jim Clark, under whom Karen Farquharso was working at Scottish engineering firm, Thistle Marine, had the least idea that a remark that he thought was harmless would land him in a lawsuit.  The former employee, Farquharso, was awarded a compensation of 37,000 pounds (equivalent to 37.5 lakh rupees).

 The court ruled that Clark had falsely accused Farquharso of using menopause as an excuse to stay away from work.

Farquharsonwas employed with the firm since 1935. In August 2021, she reported to her supervisor, Clark, that she was undergoing menopausal symptoms and was dealing with anxiety and cognitive difficulties. Then, in December 2022, she chose to work remotely for two days due to menopausal bleeding and the presence of heavy snow near her residence.

On the third day, she arrived at work around 2 pm and encountered her supervisor in the hallway, where he made a sarcastic remark, on how she managed to come to office after such a serious issue.

When she explained her circumstances to him, her supervisor disregarded her explanations and stated that everyone experienced discomfort and physical complaints.

Upset by his response, Farquharson took legal action against the company, alleging wrongful termination and harassment. During the tribunal proceedings, her supervisor claimed that his remarks were harmless and that the woman was attempting to obtain money for her wedding.

However, the panel of judges observed that he had displayed a lack of compassion in the situation and ruled in favour of compensating Farquharson. While acknowledging his many commendable attributes, the court noted that he lacked empathy.

Furthermore, the employee mentioned that her boss was resistant to change and hadn’t evolved as an individual over time. She stated how she’d been associated with the company for well over two decades, and yet, Clark treated her poorly and resisted adapting new ways of working. Subsequently, she discovered that her access to the company’s remote accounts system had been disabled, preventing her from working from home.

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