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Starbucks in hot water after being successfully sued by employee

View profile for Martin Hopkins
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“I‘m sure I was not the only one to take an interest in the recent news about Starbucks being successfully sued by one of its employees for disability discrimination. Meseret Kumulchew brought a claim against Starbucks alleging disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Having incorrectly entered information on company records she was alleged to have deliberately falsified that information. In the employment tribunal hearing she successfully argued that Starbucks had failed to make reasonable adjustments for her and had discriminated against her. 

So what was the disability and how was it relevant? Meseret has dyslexia and had advised Starbucks of this fact.   They failed to take it into account when considering the allegation that she had deliberately falsified records. Rather than falsify records she had struggled to correctly record the information because of her dyslexia.

Employers must always take care to fully investigate any factors which might affect an employee’s ability to carry out their job before they take action against that employee. To not do so leaves the employer open to a challenge of discrimination. Starbucks’ failure to do that should serve as a salutary reminder to all employers.”