This woman was reported at work for having period cramps

Charlie Benson
Content Marketing Executive

It should come as a surprise to no one that a significant amount of the population menstruates. And sometimes, with menstruation, comes painful cramps.

Some companies - and even countries, such as Italy - have taken steps recently towards implementing 'period policies' in the workplace. These policies would see people who menstruate and struggle with severe period cramps being allocated time off each month if needed. 

There is, however, still a stigma around the discussion of periods - which was highlighted recently when one woman's story went viral. 

Her experience was shared via and then on Twitter by @anygirlfriday.



Via Twitter / @anygirlfriday 



In the post, she explains she was suffering "horrible menstrual cramps" at work, and painkillers weren't helping. 

Luckily, she remembered she had a hot water bottle in her desk drawer. Hot water bottles are used by a lot of her colleagues, because the office gets "freezing" during winter and personal space heaters aren't allowed in their workplace. 

So, with her hot water bottle in her lap to ease her period cramps, she got back to work. Then, her "sort-of supervisor", who she refers to as "Guy", approaches her to talk about work and notices the hot water bottle: 

"[He] 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." 



But Guy's "horrified" response to her period cramps wasn't the end of it. 

The post continues, explaining she then got approached by Human Resources (HR) at her company. They messaged her saying:

"'Guy says you're not well and should go home, everything OK'? 

To which she responds:

"'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 HR department didn't react as she expected, though. The story continues: 

"Ten more minutes later, the HR Director calls me and asks me if I can find a meeting room, which I do. She then tells me that I shouldn't disclose my 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'. I say 'this is weird, ok, anything else'? She's quite breezy and professional - 'No, that's all, if you're feeling better that's great but if you need to, please do go home, OK bye!'" 



"I'm just completely flabbergasted."

The post ends: "I'm just completely flabbergasted. Especially considering that Guy has been known to take meetings with clients whilst laying flat on the floor on his back because of back problems - which seems to me both unprofessional and likely to make people uncomfortable, not that I really cared personally. I wouldn't have had my hot water bottle in a client meeting or even if clients were in the office. 

"Other people have standing desks, weird foot rests, all kinds of chairs and special backrests for their back pain and wrist braces for their wrist pain and a hundred other things and I'm not allowed to have a hot water bottle for my menstrual cramps? Am I right to be completely f**king furious?"



After the story was shared to Twitter by @anygirlfriday, people, unsurprisingly, had a lot to say about it. 

The majority were equally flabbergasted by both Guy's behaviour and the HR department's handling of the situation, though some argued she was wrong to disclose she was having period cramps. 

One user, @IndiaBenjamin, summed the situation up perfectly, writing: "seems like this could all have been avoided if Guy minded his own goddamn business about why someone wanted a hot water bottle".