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Dyslexia sufferer wins discrimination claim against Starbucks

A woman with dyslexia has won a disability discrimination claim against Starbucks after it demoted her for making mistakes caused by her condition.

Meseret Kumulchew has difficulties with reading, writing and telling the time. The company accused her of falsifying documents when she provided inaccurate information relating to the temperature of water and fridges at her branch at Clapham in London.  She was removed from her position as supervisor and given less responsible duties.

She brought a claim of disability discrimination on the grounds that the company had failed to make reasonable adjustments for her condition, even though she had made it clear that she had difficulties with words and numbers.

The Employment Tribunal found that the company had discriminated against her because of her dyslexia. It also said that she had been victimised and that her employer appeared to have little understanding of equality issues.

There will now be another hearing to assess the level of compensation. Ms Kumulchew continues to work for Starbucks.

People who feel they’re being discriminated against at work and are considering bringing a claim need to act quickly. Claims generally have to be brought with three months minus one day of the discrimination taking place. There are limited exceptions to this but the best advice is to act within the deadline.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.