Sarah Hayes | Associate | Employment Team | Southampton Skip to content

Sarah Hayes

Associate - Employment

My experience

I am an associate in the Employment team.  My areas of expertise include:

  • disciplinary and performances issues;
  • employment contracts;
  • staff handbooks;
  • Redundancies;
  • employment tribunal claims;
  • settlement agreements and protected conversations; and
  • discrimination advice.

I advise on both contentious and non-contentious aspects of employment law. I work with employers and employees across a wide range of business sectors to support them with any issues that arise during the employment relationship. I regularly advise on settlement negotiations and terms.

I am a member of the management committee of the Employment Lawyers Association and was appointed as the Regional Representative of the Lower South East in September 2020.

Insights from Sarah Hayes


Menopause and Employment Law : An employer's obligations

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Settlement Agreements - An Employee Guide

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Are employees entitled to a day off for the upcoming Coronation Bank Holiday?

Read article


Sarah Hayes and Tabytha Cunningham | 28th September 2022

Menopause in the workplace


Sarah Hayes and Tabytha Cunningham | 28th September 2022

Menopause in the workplace

In today's episode, we'll be discussing the impact of menopause on employees, and some of the steps that employers can take to support staff experiencing menopausal symptoms.

01:21: To start with, we'll hear from Sarah Hayes, an employment lawyer at Paris Smith LLP. Sarah has extensive experience in advising employers on a range of issues relating to menopause, and she offers some great advice on how to support employees going through this difficult time.

09:00: We'll also be talking to Tabytha Cunningham, who provides some great tips on how employers can make reasonable adjustments to help staff manage their symptoms.

13:53: Finally, we'll ask Sarah about the usefulness of introducing a menopause policy, and she offers some great advice on what this could include.

So, whether you're an employer looking to support your staff better through menopause, or an employee who's experiencing symptoms and looking for advice, you won't want to miss this episode.

Thank you for listening.

References and further reading



What is the menopause?


Sarah Hayes | 13th November 2023

What is the menopause?

00:00.0 Hi, my name is Sarah Hayes, and I'm a solicitor in the employment team at Paris Smith. Whilst it isn't a new topic by any means, the menopause has been rapidly gaining momentum within employment law and within the wider media as well. A quarter of women have experienced debilitating symptoms, and over 80 percent have experienced it having an effect on them within the workplace.

00:26.1 It's a topic which has also gained a lot of traction right up to government level, where there's been lots of debate and recent consultation around the menopause.

00:39.5 Well, the menopause is a natural stage of life which affects roughly half the population. It usually occurs in women aged between 45 to 55 years old, although it can start earlier than this and it can also start later as well.

What legal protection do employees have for the menopause?


Sarah Hayes | 13th November 2023

What legal protection do employees have for the menopause?

00:00.0 So all employees have protection under the Equality Act, regardless of how long they've been employed for, and this includes certain protected characteristics. Now the menopause itself is not recognised as a protected characteristic, but age, sex and disability are types of protected characteristic which are all going to be really relevant here to consider. Now, the menopause is not recognised automatically as a deemed disability.

00:31.4 Disability has a specific legal definition which a tribunal would need to look at, and generally there we're going to need to look at how long the symptoms have lasted. Or are likely to last and what the day-to-day impact is there to an individual as well. So there're lots of things there that will need to be considered, and employers will often need to get some medical input here to help them understand this. So they may need to speak to occupational health, or they may need to speak to a GP in order to understand those symptoms and what the impact there is on the individual.

What reasonable adjustments should be made by employers with regards to menopause in the workplace?


Sarah Hayes | 13th November 2023

What reasonable adjustments should be made by employers with regards to menopause in the workplace?

00:00.0 So if an employee is disabled, an employer has a legal obligation there to make reasonable adjustments. And the idea is there that the reasonable adjustments are going to try and help to alleviate some of those disadvantages that that individual is suffering as a consequence of their disability.

00:20.5 Now there's lots of different examples of what a reasonable adjustment will be, and that will really depend on the individual themselves and what they're experiencing. Sometimes we're looking at practical adjustments, so in terms of their physical working environment, we might be looking at the temperature, ventilation, other types of practical changes.

00:40.6 So employers are legally also responsible for the health and safety of their workforce and their employees and that includes individuals that are working from home as well. So very broadly they should be carrying out risk assessments on a regular basis so that they can monitor that and they can keep in touch with any changes which may be needed.

00:57.5  And part of that is going to be considering as well whether an individual that's suffering with menopause or symptoms, whether there are any changes that may be needed there to support their working environment.

What should employers do to support staff during the menopause?


Sarah Hayes | 13th November 2023

What should employers do to support staff during the menopause?

00:05.0 So employers need to be mindful that the menopause can impact on staff in a variety of different ways and there're lots of different symptoms and experiences that people will be having. As a starting point, managers should be trained and familiar with what the menopause is, what the different stages are and what the symptoms are that staff may be experiencing.

00:24.0 It can be really helpful to consider whether you have a menopause champion or a well being champion in the workplace. So that staff have someone approachable, somebody that is comfortable to go and speak to if they are experiencing any problems and they want someone there that they can just go and have a chat with.

00:40.2 And ideally that should be held in a confidential, private setting. We don't want those meetings to be disturbed or for the employee to feel uncomfortable. So we want to think there about making sure that those are happening in an appropriate environment.

See All

How I’ve helped our clients

Meetings and communications/emails were very clear. Instructions were straightforward and explanations for rationale behind instructions also very clear.

Settlement Agreement Client

A personal note to say a big thank you for all your help with my SA. Throughout the whole process you provided sound, easy-to-understand advice on a sensitive subject and helped get me a fair outcome. Whilst I hope none of my colleagues find themselves in the same situation, if they did, I'd highly recommend you.

A Settlement Agreement Client

I have received an impeccable service from Sarah Hayes. I have received clear, detailed information of the process, any question or doubt has been answered. Overall it's been all smooth and has facilitated the unpleasant situation of being made redundant .

Client - Settlement Agreement

All of the staff at Paris Smith have been welcoming and professional during a stressful time navigating through a non-compete dispute with my previous employer. The whole matter was resolved quickly thanks to Sarah’s great experience and competence in dealing with these matters. I would definitely recommend this service to anyone seeking employment legal advice.

Industry - Energy & Technology

Paris Smith and particular Sarah Hayes provided me with an invaluable service during a challenging time at work. Her advice guided me through the dispute and we succeeded in achieving a favourable settlement. Sarah listened patiently to my perspective, explaining the legal impact of the situation as well as considering the personal effect of the situation. As a result of Sarah’s professional approach, I felt very much in the driving seat and did not feel as if I was being victimised. I found Paris Smith to be professional, responsive, open minded and respectful. I was impressed when Sarah replied to emails within a couple of hours and I was kept informed at all times. I would not hesitate to instruct Paris Smith again in the future. Thank you for your valued and help and support.

Industry - Engineering & Technology

I would just like to thank you for the prompt service and clear advice that you have provided. From our first meeting where you explained the agreement in clear and concise non legal language that could be understood and digested, to our last phone call the service was excellent. The whole process was completed smoothly and without any issues. Your approach made what could have been an anxious experience more acceptable which I thank you for.

Senior Employee - Financial Services Sector

Sarah was excellent, well informed and very helpful.

IH - Settlement Agreement

Sarah was great, gave good advice and did her best for me. I am really happy with her service.

Angela Gradidge

I found Sarah Hayes to be understanding of my situation and she provided a detailed analysis of my agreement. The analysis was broken down in to sections and the language used allowed me to understand the implications. Sarah had a pleasant disposition and I found her very professional and easy to deal with. I will certainly use Sarah again.

Gary Barnard - Settlement Agreement

My contact Sarah Hayes was very knowledgeable and supportive. I felt that she gave me maximum support for the available fee.

Brigitte Rothfuss - Settlement Agreement

Sarah was very considerate and just the right level of empathetic. She was very clear and explained things in a way that I would understand. I felt in very safe hands with Sarah.

Employee - Grievance with employer

Truly the most informative, relevant, and interesting course I've done. It's so useful to have the chance to hear from the law firm and HR and be able to ask any queries. Courses like this help massively in giving us the confidence and knowledge to carry out the processes correctly.

Feedback from an attendee at a recent in house training course on carrying our disciplinary and grievance investigations effectively