The importance of reasonable adjustment: Meseret Kumulchew v Starbucks

  • By Blog Admin
  • 25 Aug, 2016
Starbucks has lost a disability discrimination case after it wrongly accused a dyslexic employee of falsifying documents when she had simply misread numbers she was responsible for recording. This case is a useful reminder of the importance of making reasonable adjustments when an employer is aware of an employee’s disability. Once an individual has informed their employer that they are suffering from any recognised medical condition or symptoms which could afford them disabled status, the employer should take steps to inform themselves of the nature of the condition and how this may affect the employee in the workplace.

In   Meseret Kumulchew v Starbucks , the employee was a supervisor at a branch of Starbucks and was responsible for taking the temperature of fridges and water at specific times and entering the results in a duty roster. During a disciplinary hearing, she was accused of falsifying the documents after erroneously entering incorrect information; she was also asked to provide a "certificate" to prove her dyslexia.
The employee was then given fewer duties and was informed she would need to retrain. This left her feeling suicidal.
Ms Kumulchew brought a claim against Starbucks at Tribunal alleging disability discrimination saying that she had always disclosed to her employer she was dyslexic and suffered with problems at work such as difficulties with reading, writing.

The Tribunal found Starbucks had failed to make reasonable adjustments for the disability and had therefore discriminated against her because of the effects of her dyslexia and her ability to carry out her day to day duties at work. Instead of finding ways to support and assist her in fulfilling her duties, Starbucks accused her of falsifying records and treated her unfavourably.
The Tribunal also said Ms Kumulchew had been victimised and there appeared to be little or no knowledge or understanding of equality issues from Starbuck. Some proper investigation and advice might have highlighted how the role could have been adjusted; it was its duty to take such steps as it is reasonable to take to avoid the disadvantage.

Pic from lizmcgettinganfuturelibraries.wordpress.com

Dyslexia generally presents difficulties with words and numbers and sufferers need to be shown how to do tasks visually.
Whether dyslexia is deemed to be a disability under the   Equality Act 2010   definition will be dependent upon the severity of the individual’s condition. If it has “substantial” affects on his/her ability to carry out normal day-day activities then it will likely be a disability. If not, then it will likely not be.

This is an area where each case will need to be reviewed on its own facts. Please contact British Dyslexia Association  for more information and/or advice on Dyslexia.

The People Alchemist Blog

By The Alchemist About Town 22 Sep, 2017
I am so utterly delighted that my book is now out, available to order both on paperback and on Kindle edition just in time for Business Women's Day - YES!!!!!! :-) 

STOP IT! It's all in your head   is my labour of love and my way to encourage, inspire and empower women to achieve what they want professionally and not be confined by societal, religious, family paradigms of what " women should do/are like" and, most importantly, the restrictions in their head.
If that is being CEO of a Global Company or a stay-at-mum or Director of Paperclip ( whatever grabs your fancy) so be it.

Writing this book was also a personal challenge ( the 30 days thingy) which confirmed to me once and for all that you can really do whatever you set your mind to, if you really want to that is.

Couple of tips for writing a book from me:
  • write about what you are passionate about, you know more than you think.
  • free-write about the parts/chapters in the book you like the most and you are most interested in first - that will give you a great boost at the beginning - you can edit and add the boring bits later - by then most of the book will be almost there
  • keep your own voice - write as you speak so to speak ( people do need to understand you though..)
  • keep an open mind, ideas will flow into you mid-way through the project
  • a deadline and going public is good to beat procrastination ( but if that stresses you out too much don't do it) - the deadline certainly helped me.
You can do it too!!!

If anyone would like to be part of the book launch, the event is live on Eventbrite and you can buy an Early Bird ticket now:
SMASH YOUR CEILING - #STOPITBookLaunch 
Thursday 12 October at 18.30
Business Design Centre
Islington
London

To pre- e-meet other super fab women in business attending the event, please use the following hashtags:
#SMASHYOURCEILING
#STOPITBookLaunch
#BDCWorks

I'm so excited about this book and I genuinely hope you will like it- I hope to meet you soon, in person or through the pages of my book.

Laura x


#Hustle #GirlBoss #SmashThatCeiling
  #SmashYourCeiling
STOP IT! It's all in your head 
#dreambig #believe #youcan



By The Alchemist About Town 19 Sep, 2017
The time is getting closer and closer to the release of   STOP IT, It's all in your head   my new book ( 22 September for Business Women's Day - US) .

I have now  received the proof copy of the paperback which looks absolutely fabulous: a couple of things to correct but overall I am super happy with the result.
A lot of marketing to do now between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ ( which is PS: looking like more work than the actual writing of the book).

The book event/launch/talk is live on Eventbrite and you can buy an Early Bird ticket now:
SMASH YOUR CEILING - #STOPITBookLaunch 
Thursday 12 October at 18.30
Business Design Centre
Islington
London

To pre- e-meet other super fab women in business attending the event, please use the following hashtags:
#SMASHYOURCEILING
#STOPITBookLaunch
#BDCWorks

I'm so excited about this book and I genuinely hope you will like it.

Laura x


#Hustle #GirlBoss #SmashThatCeiling
  #SmashYourCeiling
STOP IT! It's all in your head 
#dreambig #believe #youcan



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