A Full Guide To Employment Rights For People With Dyslexia

Employment Rights For People With Dyslexia

According to the British Dyslexia Association, an estimated one in ten people have dyslexia, a learning difficulty that affects an individual’s ability to attain both precision and fluency in reading and spelling.

Due to the nature of dyslexia, reasonable adjustments are sometimes required in the workplace, providing support when and if needed.

Such adjustments can help individuals get the most out of their strengths and talents whilst minimising any challenges they may face due to dyslexia.

If you have dyslexia or know someone who does and you are they are starting employment, we have important information in this article.

Today’s guide will discuss employment rights for people with dyslexia.

We will examine the legal obligations of employers, how dyslexia can affect the workplace, and examples of reasonable adjustments for those with the neurodivergent condition.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information, whether you’re an employee with dyslexia or an employer.

An Overview Of Dyslexia

Before we discuss employment rights for those with dyslexia, we need to recap on what dyslexia is.

Dyslexia is a specific type of learning difficulty that can affect people in various ways.

It often affects an individual’s spelling and reading abilities and can impact how quickly information is processed and how quickly certain information is remembered.

For many, dyslexia can also affect organisational skills and concentration, resulting in occasionally being unable to express what one is thinking. This was evident in a recent employment tribunal case in the UK.

Due to the variations of dyslexia, some employees may need to exert more effort than their colleagues to keep up with their job’s demands. Therefore, adjustments are required in the workplace.

Employment Rights For People With Dyslexia

Disability discrimination issues have been covered by the Equality Act since October 1, 2010, replacing the Disability Act 1995. The Equality Act 2010 has and continues to protect individuals against discrimination in employment, as well as in society.

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees in a bid to reduce the effects a disability may have on an individual’s ability to perform in their position.

According to the Equality Act 2010, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial (more than trivial) and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”

Dyslexia meets these criteria, as it can have a large impact on the day-to-day life of an individual and is a lifelong condition.

Employers must meet legal obligations beginning with the recruitment process. Recruiters must have selection processes in place that are dyslexia-friendly.

Moreover, they can not decline to hire a person because of a disability and have a legal duty to provide reasonable adjustments within a workplace environment.

Overall, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against dyslexic individuals during:

  • The recruitment process
  • Transfers and promotions
  • Development and training exercises
  • Dismissal processes

Employers must ensure colleagues and managers are aware of a person’s dyslexia and make any adjustments deemed appropriate.

Also, case law requires employers to ensure dyslexic employees are not bullied, whether directly or indirectly, because of their learning difficulty.

How Does Dyslexia Affect The Workplace?

People with dyslexia may face various challenges in the workplace as a direct result of the neurodivergent condition.

One common area that is impacted is the speed at which a person can process information and work through emails or reports. Reasonable adjustments, however, can lower the effects of this impact.

A dyslexic individual can also be affected by burnout, low self-esteem, and struggle with time management and organisational skills.

For instance, writing and managing reports can become overwhelming, causing the employee to become stressed and impacting their mental health negatively.

Processing language often requires a huge effort for those with dyslexia. This can result in low self-esteem as a person faces the challenges associated with dyslexia.

It is important that employees affected by these issues discuss everything with their employers, management, and colleagues for support and help.

What is Discrimination Against Dyslexia?

Those with dyslexia may face discrimination in their personal and professional lives.

The fact that society is built on the ideals and practices of neurotypical/non-disabled people means those with disabilities are often subject to unfair treatment or prejudice.

Discrimination against dyslexia is unfortunately quite common, with many unaware they are being discriminatory.

Under the Equality Act 2010, any dyslexic person who is treated unfairly, differently, or in a manner that puts them at a disadvantage could be experiencing disability discrimination.

Employers must make reasonable adjustments in the workplace for dyslexic individuals and customers to avoid dyslexia discrimination.

What Are Reasonable Adjustments For Dyslexia?

Employers need to make adjustments that are considered reasonable for dyslexic employees and customers.

What is considered reasonable may differ from one institution to the next and can be determined by the overall cost to the employer and the measure’s effectiveness in alleviating any disadvantages experienced by the employee.

Employers can turn to Occupational Health or Dyslexia Assessments for suggestions on reasonable adjustments. Ultimately, what works best will depend on the individual in question.

Examples of some possible adjustments include the following:

  • The provision of assistive technologies, such as speech-to-text software
  • Implementing job application forms that are compatible with such assistive technologies.
  • Providing additional time for certain tasks (i.e., curating and processing long reports/documents)
  • Using coloured computer screens and/or sans-serif fonts
  • Allowing employees to record instructions or meetings instead of writing down notes
  • Allocating specific duties elsewhere if considered too challenging for an employee
  • Permitting remote work and/or placing the employee’s desk in a more secluded, quieter, distraction-free environment
  • Highlighting key points in documents
  • Alternate computer tasks with other work, if and when possible
  • Supply employees with a talking calculator in cases of numerical difficulties

All adjustments must be discussed first with the employee and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure their efficacy.

Employers can rely on Access to Work, a Government scheme, that may help assess reasonable adjustments required.

See also: Does dyslexia affect speech?

Our Final Word

Employers must adhere to stringent legal obligations for employees with disabilities, including dyslexia.

Employees with dyslexia have a range of employment rights that must be in place to ensure fair treatment and accommodation in the workplace.

For more information on this matter, the British Dyslexia Association and Made by Dyslexia have a range of services, including guidance and training for employers.

If you’re looking for a dyslexia diagnosis to unlock further support in the workplace, we’re here to help. Give us a call on 01633 439 220 to discuss our assessment process, or book your assessment here.