Dyslexic Starbucks employee wins discrimination case

Tribunal finds Starbucks guilty of discrimination and victimisation

A Starbucks employee has won her discrimination case in the first of its kind after an employment tribunal found she had been discriminated against by her employer on account of her dyslexia.

Meseret Kumulchew took her case before an employment tribunal after the managers at the Starbucks coffee shop, in which she worked as a supervisor, accused her of falsifying company documents; Ms Kumulchew was demoted from supervisor to general barista and said that the demotion caused her to consider suicide.

Ms Kumulchew told the tribunal how she has explained to her managers on multiple occasions that she suffered from dyslexia (a disability as defined by Equality Act 2010) which was why she occasionally made mistakes on documents.

Employment tribunal finds Starbucks guilty of discrimination

Starbucks guilty of discrimination

The tribunal found that, not only had Starbucks failed in its responsibility to accommodate Ms Kumulchew’s disability in her workplace to a reasonable degree, but they had also victimised and discriminated against her. A hearing is to take place in which a tribunal will decide whether Ms Kumulchew should receive compensation from her employer.

Ruth Badrick, of Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP, an employment law specialist, told The Telegraph: “It is possible that companies like Starbucks could be hit by a deluge of claims from people with dyslexia. It is a reminder that employers need to be very cautious.”

An expert in equality law has said that it has been a “very embarrassing” case for Starbucks and that they should consider carrying out a detailed review its discrimination policies if they are to recover from the “reputational damage”.

To find out more about our employment law services, please follow this link.