Statistics manager, Anita had to have extensive gynaecological surgery due to endometriosis and this triggered a sudden and severe menopause. As well as ongoing pain, she experienced severe tiredness and hot flushes during her recovery from the operation.
Anita explains how the impact of these symptoms affected her ability to work
"Whenever I mentioned my menopause symptoms, I was ignored or was told I needed to keep those things to myself and get them under control."
“I had to take 3 months off and then slowly tried to build back up to full time hours, but my ongoing menopause symptoms meant I was still taking time off sick intermittently. My boss was very unsympathetic and told me he needed me back in the office full time as my home working was disruptive to the team.”
Anita ended up submitting a formal complaint about her boss that was upheld by her employers. Her boss resigned and she was temporarily promoted to Head of Statistics but after a short while, her endometriosis flared up again. The ramifications of her physical condition and the upcoming additional surgery began to take a toll on her mental health.
How this affected Anita
“When I was told the condition was back again, my mental health suffered and I took a few weeks off work to recover. During this time, my new boss was in touch and told me they were looking at restructuring the team. Soon after I was told my role no longer existed and I was made redundant.”
Looking back, Anita wonders whether her considerable periods of sick leave influenced her redundancy because after she left, her team did not reduce in size and all other team members were retained. But she moved forward and began a role at a new company as an Insight Manager.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire
“A few years later while at my new employers, my endometriosis required more surgery and I had to take 3 months off work again to recover. On my return, my manager gave me a written warning for excessive sick leave (this was the only period of sick I’d had in 3 years of working for them) and she put me on a disciplinary review.
“She also informed me that I and my team were under threat of redundancy due to cost cutting. I was given a 2-week phased return back to work and was not allowed to work at home any more than one day a week. Whenever I mentioned my menopause symptoms, I was ignored or was told I needed to keep those things to myself and get them under control.”
Anita was sadly made redundant from this job too, and similarly to her previous redundancy, her role did appear to remain after the restructuring but under a different job title. This experience has made Anita feel her health condition and resulting menopause influenced how she was treated at work:
“Whilst I’ll never know for sure, I do feel my surgeries, the time off needed to recover and the impact of my resulting menopause symptoms did play a part in both of my redundancies. More help, support, and sympathy in both of these places of work would have benefited me and the organisation, as they would have kept a dedicated member of staff.”