Dyslexia is a disability under the Equality Act 2010. If a person is disabled, an employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace to assist them in carrying out their duties. However, an employer is not expected to make reasonable adjustments unless they have knowledge of the disability.
This means an employee needs to disclose their disability and work with the employer as to what adjustments are required. If the adjustments require expenditure, then assistance may be available under the Access to Work Scheme.
In the Starbucks case, it seems there was a lack of communication between the employee and Starbucks regarding the suitable adjustments required to enable the employee to carry out her work, leading to a finding of disability discrimination. This may have been avoided had there been more communication between the parties.
The tribunal found Starbucks had failed to make reasonable adjustments for Ms Kumulchew’s disability and had discriminated against her because of the effects of her dyslexia.
It also found she had been victimised by her employer and there appeared to be little or no knowledge or understanding of equality issues.