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

Starbucks loses dyslexic discrimination case

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.”
 
Related stories:
 
No fairy tale: Disney faces mass discrimination claim
 
Racist video sparks worldwide retraining at Apple
 
Did we employ a racist manager? McDonald’s seeks out truth

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD Asia.

Recent articles & video

Creating conditions in which organisational development thrives

Jack Ma on '996' overtime culture

How to offer a stellar employee recognition program

Hong Kong Airlines faces mass employee exodus

Most Read Articles

Google's chief diversity officer quits

2019's best workplace in Asia revealed

How to handle a toxic boss