Starbucks loses dyslexic discrimination case

The global coffee chain has come under fire for mistakenly accusing one of its dyslexic staff members of falsifying documents

A dyslexic employee has won a discrimination case against Starbucks after being accused of falsifying documents.
The accusations were made after Meseret Kumulchew inaccurately recorded water and fridge temperatures while working as a supervisor at a southwest London branch last year.
In December, an employment tribunal found she had been victimised by the company which failed to make allowances for employees with dyslexia.
After accusing Kumulchew of falsifying the records, Starbucks allegedly reduced her responsibilities and sent her to be retrained. This was despite previously making them aware of her condition.
The tribunal found that Starbucks had neglected to make the proper changes and adjust the workplace for Kumulchew’s reading difficulties. This violated the 2010 Equality Act.
Speaking with The Guardian, Kumulchew urged Starbucks to take action and help its dyslexic staff.
“Starbucks says ‘do, show and tell’. That works brilliantly for me. Visual, physical and reading, they all go together. If you miss one of them, I’m lost,” she said.
“I’ll struggle, don’t worry, help me. I’ll get there in my own speed, but I won’t affect your business because [for] every customer I’ll roll out the red carpet. I want to apply Starbucks’ mission statement and the training I [was] given to the full. I love my job.”
She suggested Starbucks could send around a second person to help or simply make the text larger.
Kate Saunders, the chief executive of the British Dyslexia Association, also spoke with The Guardian.
“All organisations must make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities, including dyslexia,” she said
“They should have appropriate policies in place and make sure these are movements to avoid discrimination, including in the recruitment process, the work environment and colleague reactions.”
Saunders said the association had received numerous calls from those with dyslexia who have faced serious discrimination while at work.
The chief executive of Dyslexia Action told The Guardian that employers were missing out by failing to cater to dyslexic employees in the workplace.
“Without the correct support, people with dyslexia can suffer a huge loss of confidence and low self-esteem. This is a great shame as those with dyslexia have much to offer in the workplace.”
“Many people with dyslexia work very differently from conventional methods, but employers stand to gain great benefit from the different perspective that this brings and ability to think outside the box.”
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