Starbucks Found To Have Discriminated Against An Employee Who Was Dyslexic
Recently a Starbucks employee with Dyslexia won a disability discrimination case against her employer, after being wrongly accused of falsifying documents.
An employment tribunal found that Meseret Kumulchew had faced discrimination after making mistakes due to her difficulty with reading and writing. She was accused of purposely falsifying documents after she had mistakenly entered the wrong water and fridge temperatures.
The tribunal found that Starbucks had committed several wrong doings
- Discrimination – They discriminated against the employee because of her dyslexia.
- Victimisation – They victimised the employee by demoting her and making her feel unable to do the job due to her disability.
- Reasonable Adjustments – Starbucks also failed to make reasonable adjustments to help accommodate Meseret Kumulchew’s disability.
The Disability Discrimination Act covers dyslexia; therefore all workplaces need to comply with it. There are a number of steps employers should take to identify and support the needs of a dyslexic employee:
- Understand what it is
Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. Although it is more than just a literacy problem – it can also cause problems with short-term memory and with tasks that involve using sequences. It is a condition that cannot be cured, but the difficulties it causes can be alleviated with appropriate intervention and specialist support.
- Treat each dyslexic person as an individual, everyone is different.
Dyslexia will affect people in different ways. It is important that employers are aware of the nature of individual’s dyslexia and how it affects them in the work place. This will try to determine and help provide the appropriate support. Failure to do so will mean an employee will not be able to demonstrate their full potential in the work place.
- Adapt your recruitment procedures.
- Consider training needs
Many dyslexic employees’ fail to progress within their careers because they are hesitant to undergo any further training, fearing that their difficulties will be exposed to others. Tasks such as note taking or reading training material can be a frightening process for dyslexic people, especially when they have to work quickly in front of others. It is important that trainers and line managers are aware of these issues and discuss any support options with the employee concerned. This may include the use of recording equipment during presentations.
- Making reasonable adjustments
Once you identify that an employee has a disability, you as he employer has a legal requirement under the Disability Discrimination Act to consider reasonable adjustments. As dyslexia will affect people differently it is important that you know how it affects each individual within your work place and make reasonable adjustments to help accommodate them. The British Dyslexia Association has determined the most appropriate adjustments that can be made for particular individuals according to their needs, wither it is written or verbal communications or time and work planning. These can be viewed in the link below.
Employers found to have discriminated against an employee on the grounds of disability could face huge financial penalties, the compensation awards for discrimination cases are unlimited.