Karen Farquharson, a 49-year-old Scottish woman, has secured a compensation award exceeding 37,000 pounds (approximately ₹37 lakh) following comments made by her boss, who suggested she used the menopause as an "excuse for everything." She was an employee at the engineering firm Thistle Marine since 1995, on a salary of 38,000 pounds.
According to a report by the BBC, Ms. Farquharson's boss, Jim Clark, the 72-year-old managing director of Thistle Marine in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, dismissed her medical issue and told her to "just get on with it". In response, she initiated legal proceedings against the company, citing unfair dismissal and harassment. She characterized her boss as someone who did not adapt to the times and referred to him as a "dinosaur."
Ms. Farquharson said that she had known the company for 27 years, and they treated her like rubbish. She further mentioned that the boss frequently labeled employees who were absent due to illness as 'snowflakes'.
The case was heard by the tribunal located in Aberdeen.
In August 2021, Ms. Farquharson informed her boss about her menopausal symptoms, which included anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and mental fog.
In December 2022, she worked from home for two days, initially due to heavy snow and then because of her menopausal bleeding. She returned to the office the following day at around 2 p.m. While passing Mr. Clark in the corridor, he sarcastically remarked, "Oh, I see you've managed to make it in." Ms. Farquharson explained her situation, to which Mr. Clark responded with a "disgusted look," making her upset and angered, prompting her to confront Mr. Clark. Mr. Clark dismissed her menopausal symptoms, asserting that everyone experiences "aches and pains."
During the tribunal proceedings, Mr. Clark contended that his comments were "innocent" and accused Ms. Farquharson of attempting to seek financial gain ahead of her marriage.
The panel was chaired by Judge James Hendry. He remarked, "Jim Clark can best be described as a blunt, self-made man and successful businessman. He no doubt has many admirable qualities, but empathy for others is not among them." The panel further concluded that Mr. Clark's remark to Ms. Farquharson violated her dignity.
Ms. Farquharson, currently employed in the accounts department at another company, described her experience as an immense strain. She shared, "The stress I endured was unimaginable, and while I've emerged victorious, I still carry this burden of anxiety and disbelief over what they subjected me to. I've lost my self-confidence entirely, and I now find it difficult to trust others. It has truly been the most challenging ordeal of my life."
(Input from Various Media Sources)