Starbucks loses dyslexia case

An Employment Tribunal has held that a dyslexic employee was discriminated against by Starbucks and is entitled to compensation.[1]

Starbucks had accused its employee of falsifying company documents, as a result of the employee incorrectly recording information about refrigerator and water temperatures into a company log. As a result of the employee’s dyslexia, she struggles with reading, writing and telling the time. However, rather than make reasonable adjustments for her disability, Starbucks assumed that the employee had acted fraudulently and, instead, gave the employee reduced responsibilities.

The judgment serves as a useful reminder to employers of how important it is not to make any assumptions regarding an employee’s conduct and the importance of fully investigating the circumstances of any alleged misconduct and consider whether an employee may have a genuine reason for their behaviour, such as a disability. If so, the employer should then go on to consider what reasonable adjustments can be made so that an employee with a disability is not disadvantaged.

At Rooks Rider Solicitors, our dedicated Employment team is experienced in providing practical and proportionate advice to employers and employees on a wide range of matters, including those which become disputed. Contact a member of our Employment team to find out how we can help you or your business.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35521061

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