Endometriosis at Work

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK and can affect around 1 in 10 women. Symptoms can include chronic pain and fatigue and can result in women needing time off work to cope with symptoms or for tests and treatment. Some women do not experience any negative effects and don’t need support from their employer, but other women will find it very challenging to juggle symptoms and a busy life.

Impact of Endometriosis at Work

As endometriosis symptoms can come on at any point in the day, week or month, many women fear that it will affect their job. 40% of women with endometriosis worry about losing their job and 87% believe that the condition has impacted their long-term financial situation. With 1 in 10 women suffering from the condition, it is important that employers offer support at work which may also increase employers’ own productivity and profitability.

Legal position

As with most medical conditions, endometriosis will not necessarily be a disability in terms of the Equality Act 2010, but it could be if the usual definition of disability is met – a physical or mental impairment with a long term and substantial adverse impact on a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. 

Where an employee has a condition amounting to a disability, they are protected against unfair treatment, and the employer may have to consider “reasonable adjustments” to support the employee.

How can you offer support to someone with Endometriosis?

  • Offering to help with daily tasks if someone is in pain or fatigue: Colleagues looking out for each other and assisting where they can will make a difference
  • Open communication: Encourage honest and open conversations about how employees are feeling.
  • Flexible working arrangements: Most companies offer hybrid working policies now but checking in with employees suffering from any disability will help assess their needs.
  • Reasonable adjustments: Obligations under the Equality Act must be carefully considered if an employee’s endometriosis may amount to a disability.
  • Awareness at work: Educate employees and colleagues about Endometriosis by sharing this blog!

For more information, please contact a member of BTO’s employment law team.

This update contains general information only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice.

Dawn Robertson, Partner & Accredited Specialist in Employment Law: dro@bto.co.uk / 0131 222 3242 / Connect with Dawn