Posted on 15th August 2007

Dyslexics Landmark Disability Court Ruling

Dyslexia can now be classed as a disability as far as employment law is concerned according to Nick Poole, solicitor at Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks. This advice follows a landmark court case that could have a major impact on local people who suffer from the condition and the organisations that employ them. Nick said: The case involved a Chief Inspector in the Metropolitan Police Force. He had asked for 25 per cent more time when sitting promotion exams because of his dyslexia. He claimed the force failed to make reasonable adjustments, particularly in the processes for deciding on promotion to superintendent. This was denied, and he went to an employment tribunal, which ruled that his dyslexia did not have a substantial adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. He appealed against this decision. An Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled he can be classified as a disabled person under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Tribunal decided dyslexia caused a substantial impairment to his professional advancement, which relied on him sitting exams. Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty, mainly affecting reading and spelling. About 10% of the population* are affected by dyslexia to some degree. Nick continued: Dyslexia sufferers who feel disadvantaged at work may want to take legal advice on their position. Employers may also want to review their current practices in relation to dyslexia. The treatment of the condition as a disability is likely to be taken on a case-by-case basis. The Appeals Tribunal specifically said that the performance of the worker should not be assessed in comparison with the rest of the population. It is how they would perform if they did not have the disability that is the key.