Employment ruling on start times for people with Dyslexia and Asperger’s
An employment tribunal has ruled that people with Dyslexia and Asperger’s should be accommodated with more flexible working patterns including start times. The ruling is in the case of Raymond Bryce who said he was discriminated against by his former employer, and they had failed to make reasonable adjustments after he told them his dyslexia meant he ‘would be late for his own funeral’. He also has Asperger’s Syndrome which he claimed makes him stick to ‘inflexible routines’ and he gets anxious if they are broken.
Mr Bryce’s condition meant he was disorganised and frequently misread his alarm clock in the morning. He asked his managers if they would give him some leeway if he was late by 15-20 minutes but after he was frequently late, they stopped offering him shifts.
The employment tribunal upheld Mr Bryce’s claims that his dyslexia made it difficult for him to wake up early, plan ahead and read the time, despite his best efforts. It also ruled that reasonable adjustments had not been made to accommodate his disability.
The Judge said: “We conclude that Mr Bryce’s disabilities had a number of long-term effects on his normal day to day activities as he was inhibited in his ability to read, write, and understand information. He was impaired in his ability to keep to a timetable and plan for potential factors such as traffic and weather conditions. He found it difficult to wake and get ready for work on time particularly for early shifts and he would suffer significant anxiety if he was late.”
The tribunal ruled that the firm could have accommodated Mr Bryce’s request for the leeway to arrive a little late on occasion if they had offered him weekend shifts and also work at another site however Mr Bryce’s separate claim of direct disability discrimination was rejected.
Employers should therefore give full consideration to their employees who may have disabilities such as Dyslexia or Asperger’s Syndrome as they can present very differently in each person but with some reasonable adjustments, a happy and rewarding solution can often be found to overcome most difficulties the employee may have.