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Perimenopause and work

(60 Posts)
emmelinelucas Thu 05-Sep-13 15:37:19

I have a problem - I will be as concise as possible.
I am peri-menopausal, age 50 and having hot flushes that are not nice, but pass. I have had one day off sick when it all started. It hit me like a bomb, and fainted at home whilst getting ready for work.
I wouldnt say that I am gnerally ill as such. I can live with it, knowing that it will pass eventually.
When I had a meeting with my line manager (a one 2 one we call it ) I had a flush in the meeting.
My manager said (this is what i remember - i was flustered) "you cant do this job if you cant behave professionally. Hot flushes in meetings with clients and whilst training are not acceptable"
I work in local governement, on the social welfare side.
I didnt know what to say - just blethered on that I would go to my GP. I dont think I am THAT bad, but the message I got was that I cannot stay in my job (it is precarious with the cuts looming) in case i might have a flush. I would rather not try HRT-health issues.
I am worried and upset.
Is there any advice anyone could give me ?
I think (and am not paranoid here) that I am basically being told I cannot do my job.
Am shattered ! sad

missnevermind Thu 05-Sep-13 15:42:24

How horrible. I an quite certain he can't tell you that!

I am just starting with hot flushes myself so feel very offended on your behalf.

Somebody will be here soon that knows what they are talking about.

tywysogesgymraeg Thu 05-Sep-13 15:42:25

Tell her to piss off (in professional terms of course). She could probably be put on a disciplinary for even saying that to you.

Unless you actually CAN'T do your job, and there's no reason why you can't, then she can't dismiss you for having a hot flush. If you suggested that you might be better behind the scenes for a while, if it bothered you for example, then that's something else - but they still can't sack you.

You can't be sacked for being ill, let alone having a hot flush. The cheek of it!

From experience, the flushes either get better, or you just learn to live with them after a while. If they do affect your life, it would be worth seeing a GP though. It was the night sweats that got to me. I haven't had one for a while, but went through a period (no pun intended) when I'd wake up soaking in the middle of the night.

emmelinelucas Thu 05-Sep-13 15:57:13

Thankyou for replying.
During the meeting she said "i sailed through it" well , good for her !
I CAN do my job, it really wouldnt affect it (so far anyway)
I wouldnt be able to be behind the scenes though. My job involves working with people who are vulnerable.
Ah, its coming back to me.. (I dont mean to drip feed, I posted as soon as I could without really thinking as very upset/indignant/feeling bullied)
She said "you work with vulnerable, ill people. You cannot have flushes at work - it is essential that you remain professional at all times)
I am, though, honestly.
Shall I speak to the Union ?

emmelinelucas Thu 05-Sep-13 16:10:11

Just to add (sorry) that I have just left a a part time job ( I had 2 parttime) because my back is a problem if I do too much. I need this job and I can do it because its not injurous to my back.
I kept the job that paid the most, and that I thought I was more suited to.

noddyholder Thu 05-Sep-13 16:10:37

Definitely speak to the union she has really over stepped the mark. What does she think other professional women do? Just ousted from their careers because of something purely natural? I am angry on your behalf

emmelinelucas Thu 05-Sep-13 16:16:54

Thats how I feel, Noddy.
I do think that with cuts in April, people are being pushed to leave, so those left are more likely to be left alone.
I work with some people who are in terrible emotional/physical distress because of peri-m. I know what I am dealing with.
Will speak to Union tomorrow (not now, am too worked up)
She is a member, and quite militant/in the know, though. I didnt think that she would talk out of turn because she knows the rules. It was all said in a 121 meeting, though ?!

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 05-Sep-13 18:28:40

Gosh I have a menopausal member of staff who is customer facing to often distressed and upset clients. I would never consider suggesting she couldn't do her job. I have given her a little fan on a shelf that can blow on her when the flush is at it's worst.

emmelinelucas Thu 05-Sep-13 18:33:55

Lonecat - I couldnt take a fan to some places I go when it starts.
I could take a little hand held one though.
But, I am sure that I wouldnt be able to - it would be unprofessional !
Not that she would ever actually know.

Am I brave enough to approach the Union ?

bigTillyMint Thu 05-Sep-13 18:34:53

That is ridiculous! How can you stop flushing?

Apart from getting onto the union, you need to see your GP and get some advice. Why is it worse to be flushing with vulnerable people? I work with vulnerable children and flushing is not a problem for anyone.confused

I am menopausal (or peri) and have been on HRT for a couple of years now - it has revolutionised my life. I know I am lucky as many people can't go on it, but there may be something else the GP can suggest.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Thu 05-Sep-13 18:46:55

I think this might amount to sex discrimination.

I also work with very unwell, vulnerable people and am perimenopausal. It's never been a problem. I find a quick dab with a dry tissue more effective than a fan.

emmelinelucas Thu 05-Sep-13 19:11:29

Thats it Tllly, there is nothing I can do to stop the flushing.
I also dab with a tissue - I have found fans just make me hotter.
I would go to my GP but at the moment I think its quite normal what is happening.
I can live with it without any intervention.
The Docs are only open when I am at work so I will have to ask for time off. That will just compound everything.
I can hear her now "taking time off for doctors appointments is unprofessional"
I am not being obstructive. This is what I am up against.
I used my walking stick last january when I was walking into work. Just to ease my back for a bit after a bumpy bus ride and it was icy "oh Emmeline dont use your stick- it doesnt give the right impression you have to be on top form at all times when you are seeing people - remember you reresent the council" or, very close words to that effect.

No-one else ever hears this.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Thu 05-Sep-13 20:17:41

Fucking hell. Definitely see your union. Good luck, let us know how you get on.

Chottie Fri 06-Sep-13 04:09:34

Goodness, she sounds a nightmare! does she think you chose to have a bad back and peri meno probs? I found wearing layers of natural fibre clothing helped as I could just take off or put on a layer. Take a couple of slow breaths as the flush strikes.

FadBook Fri 06-Sep-13 04:51:47

Firstly, you have done nothing wrong.

Secondly, you need to seek advice from the union on the best way to deal with this.

S/he will likely advise on 2 options:

1) you raise a formal grievance of sex and disability discrimination, highlighting both comments as examples of extremely poor management behaviour (the stick one is awful - where is this manager ftom?!). A full investigation should take place by either your managers manager, or HR/an independent manager. Any grievance needs a resolution - that could be retraining, slap on wrists, mediation between both parties and/or disciplinary &potential warning/dismissal in extreme cases of poor management behaviour. Grievance manager should report back in writing if your grievance is founded or unfounded. This grievance should have no relevance on making cuts in the business. If anything, it would be extremely risky to dismiss you following the grievance without fulfilling a fair reason of dismissal (as you would have a strong case to make a claim). I digress - formal option, makes the company address it.

2) you raise it informally with your manager as a concern. Unlikely union will encourage this tbh but based on the details you've provided, I wonder if it is a case of your manager not being aware of the upset that she's caused you and it being an 'educational' and training need, rather than her being nasty / vindictive. You can approach this as you want - either ask for 5 minutes alone with her to discuss something important. Or you can summarise how you feel in an email. This option (of approaching and resolving yourself) is an opportunity for your LM to respond and change her behaviour. If she doesn't do this, over time or disagrees with your points or you come to logger heads then you've done your best to resolve yourself, so you'd follow option 1 and go formal with your complaint. It would stand in good stead then that you tried to resolve yourself but your manager was unreceptive / dismissed your concerns (making her look even worse than before, if possible!)

Like I say, my advice first would be to speak to the union on their take on how best to handle / manage.

If you chose option 2 - it would be a case of laying your cards down and saying that you felt hurt that she feels having a symptom that you have no control over, is deemed as unprofessional. And rather than wagging the finger at your professionalism, perhaps she undertakes some research in to peri menopause and symptoms associated with it. Whether you raise the walking stick incident, and how blatantly discriminatory that is (ie would she have said that about you coming in a wheelchair?) is up to you to decide if it is appropriate.

I hope it makes sense. Feel free to pm me as I work in HR, so have a bit more practical advice if you feel you don't get anywhere with your union (who should help and support you - that's what you pay for!)

Please don't think you have done anything wrong here. I suffered with early menopause, so whilst 20 years younger than you- I completely sympathise with your situation and would be appalled if my manager said I was unprofessional when flushing.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 06-Sep-13 10:07:18

That is dreadful, even worse is her comment about your stick, blinkin flip that borders on unbelievable. Definitely take some of the advice offered here.

SPBisResisting Fri 06-Sep-13 10:19:53

Op im sure this would class as discrimination if they took it further.

However tywy said furher down that you can't be sacked for being ill - that is completely wrong and assuming the company flows process but shows you cant do the job then they can dismiss you.
General 'you' of course as I really dont think this applies to you, op, at all

emmelinelucas Fri 06-Sep-13 11:41:37

I have phoned the union - they are getting back to me.
People are getting sacked in our council because of sickness.
I feel as though I am being discriminated against- thats the bottom line.
Its a stage of life I am not ill.
It has no bearing on my ability to do a professional job, where I see people.
I go red and sheeny.Thats it.

SPBisResisting Fri 06-Sep-13 19:57:56

Definitely. And ven if you are I'll they have a hell of a long way to go before they could get rid of you.theyre the council ffs.

RafflesWay Fri 06-Sep-13 20:15:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

emmelinelucas Sun 08-Sep-13 09:39:16

Thankyou again, everyone.
The union have been great so far - really, I just wanted to make sure that I had leg to stand on, and they are going to have a word.
Maybe she realises that the more pressure I am put under, the symptoms - the flushes get worse.
I have been in bed besy part of two days - this is making me ill.

SPBisResisting Sun 08-Sep-13 09:48:48

oh no sad Hope you're feeling better soon x

PlentyOfPubeGardens Sun 08-Sep-13 10:18:34

Poor you. I think you should go to the doctor - not for HRT if that's not what you want, but to get it on record that this situation is stressing you out - could be useful if this ends in a full blown dispute (hope it doesn't, but it might be best to be prepared).

Hope you feel better soon x

emmelinelucas Sun 08-Sep-13 10:24:30

Plenty - thats what DH is suggesting.
I feel AWFUL .
and frightened.

holidaysarenice Sun 08-Sep-13 12:38:27

Make suree u havew a written copy of that meeting.
If need be minute it and email to her, comments and all.

Then you have some wvidence if required.

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