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Dyslexia at work

Two stories with dyslexia as their focus; two completely different angles.

The first was about a dyslexic member of staff at Starbucks who had mistakenly entered the wrong information into a duty roster. She was accused of falsifying the documents, was demoted and told to retrain.

She won her disability discrimination case. According to reports, Starbucks hadn’t seemed to properly understand equality issues, and it should have made reasonable adjustments to take account of the dyslexia.

Also in the news was an advert for a job that was open only to people with dyslexia. “We are simply looking for the best innovative thinkers and they are usually dyslexics”, the marketing firm’s founder is reported to have said.

Controversial, maybe, but favouring someone who has a disability isn’t prohibited by the Equality Act. And the ad is an interesting take on dyslexia; one that really shouts about its positive aspects.

Employers should take note and make sure that they can recognise the characteristics. According to the British Dyslexia Association, about one in 10 people have dyslexia, and not all have been formally diagnosed. It can mean that dyslexic employees are not properly understood, not treated fairly, and their strengths are not fully played to at work.