Starbucks in disability discrimination row


A dyslexic Starbucks employee has won her case at the employment tribunal on the grounds of disability discrimination.Meseret Kumulchew, a supervisor at Starbucks recently succeeded in her claim for disability discrimination after she was accused of falsifying documents. She had mistakenly entered wrong information due to her dyslexia and as a result, she was given lesser duties and told to retrain.

Dyslexia is recognised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Whilst there is no legal requirement for an employee to disclose a disability, once an employer has been informed, an employer is under notice that they have a duty under the Equality Act.

The Employment Tribunal found Starbucks had failed to make reasonable adjustments and had discriminated against Ms Kumulchew because of the effects of her dyslexia. The Tribunal also found she had been victimised by Starbucks and there appeared to be little or no knowledge or understanding of equality issues.

The Employment Tribunal will determine at a separate hearing the question of compensation.

Alex Pearce, employment law specialist at Pinney Talfourd warns “Employers should be aware of employees with dyslexia and make adjustments were appropriate. Specialist advice is essential to determine the most appropriate adjustments for a particular individual.”

Find out more

If you do find yourself the subject of a disability discrimination claim it is important to seek legal advice immediately to minimise damage to the company and retain employee confidence.

Pinney Talfourd Solicitors’ Employment Law For Business Team look to resolve issues promptly, pragmatically and cost effectively with an eye on the bigger picture. Please contact our Employment Law Solicitor Alex Pearce for specific advice.

This article was written by Alex Pearce our Employment Law Specialist at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at February 2016.


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