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Employers should ensure that reasonable adjustments are made for dyslexic employees

If an employer is aware of an employee that suffers from dyslexia, they should ensure to provide support for that employee so that they may undertake their duties in the workplace.

Dyslexia is classed as a disability and is defined as such in the Equality Act 2010. Effects of the disability can often mean that the sufferer finds it difficult to read, write and tell the time accurately. Dyslexia effects different people in different ways and adjustments cannot simply be defined by a prescriptive criteria.

A recent high profile Employment Tribunal case concerned a supervisor of one of the employer’s branches failing to record the correct fridge temperatures as a direct result of her dyslexia. Despite making her employer aware of her dyslexia from the beginning of her employment, her employer accused her of falsifying documents and consequently demoted her from her position. A claim was successfully brought against her employer for disability discrimination. It was found that her employer had not made reasonable adjustments to accommodate the employee’s disability.

With a developing awareness of its effects, an increasing number of individuals are diagnosed with dyslexia. It is important for employers to take note of any employee’s declaration that they suffer from the condition. Once an employee’s disability is made known to an employer, the employer has a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments so that the employee in question can continue to perform their work. This should be done by means of a comprehensive review including a diagnostic assessment of the nature of the individual’s dyslexia. The British Dyslexia Association suggests an employer may look at:

1. The requirements of the job and its related tasks and competence requirements;
2. The working environment and working practices and any impact on performance;
3. The requirements of any associated training and assessment.

This process will allow for the employer to identify job and training requirements that are likely to be most successful in mitigating any areas of difficulty.

Employers may find solutions such as allowing the employee more time to carry out written tasks, or providing voice recording software to record notes instead of providing written information, particularly beneficial.

Operative date

• Now

Recommendation

• Employers should review their disability policies and not overlook dyslexia as a disability. If any of its employees have declared their dyslexia, the employer should conduct an assessment into whether reasonable adjustments have been made to allow them to undertake their normal day to day tasks.

18 March 2016

Harry Taylor was a J B Montagu Scholar at Middle Temple. He was called to the Bar as a non-practicing barrister in 2014. Before joining Helix Law Harry gained commercial experience at a Tax advisory firm. Harry is currently studying for a Masters degree in Employment Law.

Helix work with our clients to understand their business and the challenges faced. From partnership disputes to unpaid invoices to problem employees we have it covered. We work to help reduce the risk to your business when challenges inevitably arise. It’s why at Helix you’ll hear us say that we enjoy working together, with you. It’s what we’re all about.

This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of  this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice. 

Contact Helix Law on 01273 761 990 or email: [email protected]