Trainee Accountant Dismissed As Employer Made Error Employing Dyslexic

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Trainee Accountant Dismissed As Employer ‘Made Error Employing Dyslexic’

In late March 2022 news emerged of a claimant who had been appointed to the position of trainee accountant had had his employment terminated. He had made a mistake during his employment. However, instead of making allowances for the employee’s job title of trainee, the employer decided that it had no other reasonable alternative open to it but to dismiss the claimant. The Claimant had the widely known condition of dyslexia. Persons who have this often find challenging the interpretation and reading of:

  • the letters of the alphabet
  • words and
  • symbols.

However, the accountant’s employer did not appear to make allowances for the trainee accountant’s condition. The trainee had overcome the challenges faced with the condition. He had taken an extended time-period of four years to finish A-Levels and later achieved a first-class degree in Accounting and Management at University.

What Happened In the Case?

The firm made the decision to employ a trainee as a seeming headline grabber by promoting itself as disability-friendly and demonstrating how much people with dyslexia could achieve if they were provided with the opportunity. The trainee made the employer aware of his disability and even offered to provide paperwork evidencing the fact that he had dyslexia which had a substantial and adverse impact on his ability to carry out his normal day-to-day-activities. However, the employer reassured him that this was superfluous.

The employer also agreed to pay for the trainee’s training qualifications on the condition that he met the requirements of his probation period and this was baked into his employment contract. The employee inquired about the respective payment. However, three weeks after he started with the company he was called into a meeting with his employer and he was informed that a decision had been made to terminate his employment. His employer reportedly described the trainee’s behaviour in requesting for his contractual entitlement to payments as:

  • excessively demanding
  • stereotyped him as a millennial
  • wanted to do things his way and
  • demonstrated bad manners and disrespect.

Seemingly even more shocking the employer made the outrageous statement that the trainee had a sense of entitlement and they had in their words ‘made the wrong decision to give a job to a dyslexic’. The trainee objected to this statement on the basis of his considerable achievement of a successful university career despite having dyslexia and its accompanying challenges.

The Employment Tribunal found in favour of the trainee and he successfully claimed disability discrimination and unfair dismissal because the errors were attributable to the trainee’s condition.

What Is Disability Discrimination?

Disability discrimination takes place when a person is treated less favourable treatment on the basis of having a condition which:

  • Has lasted or is likely to last for a duration of over twelve months
  • Has a substantial and
  • Adverse impact on a person’s ability to carry out their normal day-to-day activities.

What Should Lawyers Be Advising Their Clients?

Lawyers should be advising employers to ensure they are following the British Dyslexia Association’s guidance and putting in place the measures to accommodate people with dyslexia such as:

  • assessing the extent of the dyslexia
  • its impact on the person
  • carrying out a Workplace Needs Assessment
  • examining how the working environment affects the employee’s performance
  • allowing more time to complete tasks
  • making allowances as dyslexics have difficulties and
  • not making sweeping, derogatory and negative comments about demographics.

This would reduce the risk of being found to have discriminated against an employee on the grounds of disability discrimination.

The Legists Content Team

ASSESSING FIRM

#Allen&Overy #BakerMcKenzie #HerbertSmithFreehills #LewisSilkin #MishcondeReya #Simmons&Simmons #AddleshawGoddard #CliffordChance #CMS #DACBeachcroft #EvershedsSutherland #LinklatersLLP #TaylorWessing #TraversSmithLLP #Bird&BirdLLP #BryanCaveLeightonPaisnerLLP #DechertLLP #DLAPiper #Farrer&Co

THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES

[1] Mr J Patel v Lucy A Raymond & Sons Limited – Employment Tribunal Judgement – Case Number 2201738/2021 - EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS (publishing.service.gov.uk)

[2] Flanaghan, R – Dyslexia accountant wins disability tribunal – 24 April 2022 – Accountancy Daily - Dyslexic accountant wins disability tribunal | Accountancy Daily

[3] Equality Act 2010

[4] Section 19 Equality Act 2010

[5] Section 20 Equality Act 2010

[6] Section 212(1) Equality Act 2010

[7] Section 21 Equality Act 2010

[8] RBS v Ashton [2011] ICR 632

[9] Environment Agency v Rowan [2008] ICR 218

[10] Section 15 Equality Acy 2010

[11] Pnaisner v NHS England [2016] IRLR 170

[12] Section 26(1) Equality Act 2010

[13] Section 26(4) Equality Act 2010#

[14] Richmond Pharmacology v Dhaliwal [2009] IRLT 336

[15] Land Registry v Grant [2011] ICR 1390

[16] Weeks v Newham College of Further Education UKEAT 0630/11

[17] Section 27 Equality Act 2010

[18] Section 136 Equality Act 2010

[19] O’Neill v Governors of St Thomas More Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Upper School and anor [1996] 1 IRLR 372

[20] Igen v Wong [2005] IRLR 258

[21] Laing v Manchester City Council [2006] ICR 1519

[22] Hewage v Grampion Health Board [2012] UKSC 37

[23] Madarassy v Nomura International plc [2007] IRLR 246

[24] Bahl v Law Society [2003] IRLT 640

[25] British Dyslexia Association – How can I support my dyslexic employees - Reasonable adjustments in the workplace - British Dyslexia Association (bdadyslexia.org.uk)

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