Lynskey started working with Direct Line as a telesales consultant in April 2016.

After a few years of good performance, Lynskey began suffering from menopause symptoms which impacted her performance and concentration at work.

The employer was made aware of Lynskey’s symptoms and there was initial support from the Company and line manager.

But in June 2020, Lynskey’s line manager expressed concerns about a call between Lynskey and a customer.

Lynskey agreed with the concerns raised and was signed off for two weeks.

She was offered a different role within the Company that didn’t involve selling and had fewer targets.

However, it also meant a financial loss for Lynskey.

Lynskey started off well in the new role, and the Company’s concerns were expected to improve with time.

However, Lynskey later received two complaints from customers, stating Lynskey had been rude and abrupt.

Lynskey’s line manager attributed the problem to a confidence and behavioural issue, which could lead to disciplinary action if continued.

In Lynskey’s end-of-year review, she was rated as “requires improvement”, which meant Lynskey didn’t receive a pay increase.

After 10 months in the new role, Lynskey’s line manager started disciplinary action against Lynskey, resulting in a first-stage warning.

However, there was little consideration given to the impact of menopause on Lynskey’s performance.

Lynskey was later signed off sick as a result of stress at home.

She was referred to Occupational Health, who recommended a series of actions including a phased return to work, further training, removing targets temporarily, and providing 1-1 refresher training.

They also identified that Lynskey would be categorised as disabled under the Equality Act 2010.

However, some of these recommendations, such as the refresher training, were denied due to lack of budget.

Furthermore, while Lynskey was off sick, the Company made the decision to stop paying sick pay, despite only reaching half of Lynskey’s entitlement to paid sick leave.

When Lynskey raised a grievance around this, she received the 13 weeks’ owed.

She remained unfit for work due to stress and anxiety and later resigned in May 2022.

Following her resignation, Lynskey brought a series of claims against Direct Line, including unfair constructive dismissal, sex, age and disability discrimination, and failure to make reasonable adjustments.

While some of the claims were dismissed in regard to unfair dismissal and age/sex discrimination, the tribunal agreed that the Company failed to make reasonable adjustments and treated Lynskey less favourably as a result of her disability, which they had been aware of from the start (but the Company only agreed that Lynskey’s symptoms amounted to a disability a couple of months before the hearing).

The tribunal stated that the Company were unfavourable to Lynskey in rating her in such a way that would rule out a pay rise, in expecting Lynskey to meet normal performance standards and undergoing a disciplinary procedure when she struggled due to her menopause symptoms, and in attempting to stop Lynskey’s sick pay.

The tribunal claimed there were also other reasonable adjustments that could’ve been offered.

And, because of these circumstances, Lynskey was awarded £30,000 for losses of earnings, £23,000 for injury to feelings and £2,500 for aggravated damages.

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