Reported To HR For Period Pain: Woman’s Menstrual Cramps Made Male Colleague Feel ‘Uncomfortable’ [Opinion]

period pain menstrual cramps tampon tax reported to HR

A woman has committed a heinous crime in the workplace and was subsequently reported to Human Resources.

What did she do? She was on her period and having terrible menstrual cramps, so, because painkillers hadn’t had any effect, she decided to use a hot water bottle she kept in her drawer to try and reduce the pain.

Her crime was that she made her male counterpart feel “uncomfortable” in the workplace. Her male co-worker saw what she was doing and reported her to Human Resources.

According to the Mirror, the female worker filled the hot water bottle and used its warmth to help ease her pain, which is when her colleague spotted what she was doing.

“My sort-of-supervisor (we’ll call him Guy) comes over to talk to me about something, notices the hot water bottle, says ‘There’s no way you’re cold today, are you?’ I say, ‘Um, no, just for the pain relief.’ He looks confused and then literally horrified, and then he walks away.”

And that should have been the end of the story. Sure, Guy’s reaction wasn’t great, but a painful bout of menstrual cramps can be distressing, so it’s understandable that Guy was perhaps a little concerned. But it turns out Guy was more than a little concerned, he was “uncomfortable,” so he reported his co-worker to HR.

HR reacted by sending the female worker a message saying, “Guy says you’re not well and should go home, everything OK?”

“I say, ‘I’m fine, this is sort of weird, he just looked a bit shocked that I had a hot water bottle, I’ve got cramps, you know how it is.'”

The woman from Human Resources went quiet, then disappeared offline. Ten minutes later, the female worker receives a call from the director of Human Resources, who asks her to go to the meeting room. The woman is then told that she shouldn’t disclose her medical problems to anyone who isn’t part of HR as it can make them uncomfortable.

“I’m literally shocked: I explain exactly what happened. She says, ‘Yes I understand, if you’re so unwell you need a hot water bottle you should be home, Guy is extremely uncomfortable and it’s unprofessional.'”

And this coming from another woman! Not only did the whole discussion make the worker feel very uncomfortable, but it also seemed highly unfair.

The female worker explained that Guy has been known to “take meetings with clients whilst lying flat on the floor on his back because of back problems,” noting that this practice seemed unprofessional and even more likely to make people uncomfortable than a hot water bottle at an employee’s desk.

“I wouldn’t have had my hot water bottle in a client meeting or even if clients were in the office.”

Indeed, it seems that other employees at the workplace in question have special equipment to make them more comfortable in the workplace, including different styles of chairs, “weird foot rests,” standing desks, backrests, and wrist braces to combat pain.

“And I’m not allowed to have a hot water bottle for my menstrual cramps?”

It seems that no matter how many steps forward women’s issues take, there’s always someone (often another female) to take women right back to where they started from.

And now, according to Glamour, a male Twitter user has explained to everyone that “menstrual pain is a myth.”

Women are always intrigued when men hold strong opinions about periods (for obvious reasons). You may recall last year when 19-year-old Ryan Williams said women should pay the tampon tax because they “can’t control their bladders,” which was followed up in an excerpt from The Geography of Madness by author Frank Bures that PMS was “a figment of our menstruation-fearing culture.”

Women around the world had a good laugh and assumed the joke was over. But now, male Twitter user @goldenconceptng claims that period pain is a figment of women’s collective imagination!

The question on Twitter asked, “What is worse than a broken heart?”

One woman’s response was “Menstrual pain, homelessness, hunger etc.,” to which @goldenconceptng responded, “As a guy, I think menstrual pain is a myth.” Of course, this left many women wondering, “How on earth would he know?”

It seems that no matter how many steps forward women's issues take, there's always someone to take women right back to where they started from.

Comments like these are not only wrong but very hurtful to women who suffer during menstruation. According to guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, at least 40 percent of women get PMS, with the condition being so serious in 5 to 8 percent of women that they require medical treatment.

In a press release, Shaughn O’Brien, Keele University Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and lead author of the guidelines, said that “PMS can be a serious condition which can dramatically impact on the quality of a woman’s life, affecting her personal and professional life.”

Women are always intrigued when men hold strong opinions about periods, for obvious reasons.

And women certainly don’t need doctors to tell them about PMS, because so many women are forced to live with it. So, unless @goldenconceptng actually does have a uterus, perhaps in future he will keep his comments about menstrual pain to himself, or even better, become educated and help other men understand just how debilitating period pain can be.

[Featured Image by thePixmanStock/Shutterstock]