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Disabilities and reasonable adjustments

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The Starbucks decision is a reminder to employers to deal with disabilities and consider reasonable adjustments.

An Employment Tribunal has upheld claims of disability discrimination brought by an employee against Starbucks.  The case involved an employee who has dyslexia and brought claims against Starbucks following allegations that she has fraudulently completed documents.  The errors in the completed documents were explained by the employee’s dyslexia.  Starbucks were found to have victimised the employee and said to have “little or no knowledge or understanding of equality issues”.

The failure of such a large employer to properly deal with disability in its workforce is worrying but lessons should be learned by employers of all shapes and sizes when it comes to dealing with the disabilities of employees and individuals it engages with.  Employers should consider whether there are underlying issues which may explain issues in performance or conduct and consider what assistance might be offered.

For assistance with managing disability in the workplace please contact our employment team.

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