Unfair dismissal due to dyslexia

An accountant has been found to have been discriminated against on the grounds of his dyslexia.

The claimant was dyslexic and had to overcome barriers in his life to achieve academic success and become an accountant, but his sacking came just a month after he was hired by the owner of the firm as “my blue-eyed boy, my project to show what people with dyslexia can achieve’, an employment tribunal was told.

The company had been looking for a fully qualified accountant, but the business owner decided to hire the claimant as dyslexia was a ‘matter of huge importance’ to her as she has family with the condition and had set up a dyslexia charity.

 

A tribunal report said summarised that the employee had explained that he had dyslexia and that this revelation was a major factor and decisive in him being offered the job. However, it also found that although the business owner had considerable direct experience of dyslexia, she appeared to view the condition entirely in the context of her personal experience.

 

There was no evidence that the employer attempted to establish how the dyslexia affected him as an individual and what specific requirements he might have, or what they could do to address any needs. Just two days into his new job, a national lockdown was announced due to Covid-19 and the claimant had to work from home.

 

The tribunal heard he was not set any targets but struggled with work and took longer to do tasks than expected, with other colleagues expressing concerns over his ability and lack of progress.

By December 1, 2020, the business owner made the decision to ‘dispense of his services’, admitting ‘I had taken the wrong decision in giving a dyslexic person the job’.

 

The employment Judge ruled that the claimant was discriminated on the grounds of his disability by being sacked over his dyslexia, criticising the company for making a ‘sudden about-turn’. The claimant will be awarded compensation for disability discrimination at a later date.

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