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Case Study: Dyslexia in the Workplace

Martin Searle Solicitors Employment Lawyers In Brighton Hove Crawley Croydon Eastbourne & Shoreham


How Martin Searle Solicitors lifted a suspension for an employee with dyslexia and agreed a range of reasonable adjustments.

The situation

Wendy works as a Specialist Nurse at an NHS Trust.

For most of her adult life she has had difficulties with reading, writing, information processing and organisation.

In May 2013 she informed her manager that she thought she might be dyslexic. Angela disbelieved her and told her she thought she was “making excuses” and that if Wendy really did have dyslexia, she should provide evidence confirming this.

Angela started to become unduly critical of Wendy and raised unnecessary concerns about the standard of her work and encouraged others to complain about Wendy’s work. Angela cancelled one-to-ones, and when meetings did take place she told Wendy to change the minutes to take out her requests for more support at work. Angela told Wendy that she should be grateful for the steps that had been taken to help her. Wendy became increasingly exasperated; there was nothing she could do right and she felt marginalised.

Things came to a head when Angela began a formal capability procedure against Wendy, alleging 15 instances of poor performance. Wendy went off sick with stress and upon her return to work, Angela suspended her.

Wendy was suspended for over 8 months while the investigation into her capability continued. The HR Advisor gave Wendy very little information about what was happening – until eventually Wendy received an investigation report which recommended her dismissal, and it attached a number of statements which demonstrated that Angela had told her colleagues that she had “serious mental health problems”. It then invited her to a meeting to defend her position.

Wendy was afraid of being dismissed and she was unsure where to turn. She wanted the Trust to listen to her and accommodate her dyslexia so that she could return to work and do her job.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Wendy got in touch with our specialist Employment lawyers in Gatwick & Crawley.

We advised Wendy to address these capability allegations by raising a grievance about her various possible claims of disability discrimination.

This set out examples of the bullying and various forms of disability discrimination and the affect this was having on Wendy.

We also wrote to Wendy’s employer pointing out that they had not complied with the Acas Code of Practice, their own policies, or the Equality Act 2010. We made it clear to the Trust that they could not dismiss Wendy fairly or impose any sanctions due to their failure to make reasonable adjustments.

The result

The Chief Executive of the Trust held a capability meeting with Wendy and also considered her grievance. He stopped the capability procedure, lifted Wendy’s suspension and agreed to put in place a range of adjustments in a very short space of time.

Wendy returned to work under a new manager who was happy to make adjustments for her. Her allegations of bullying continue to be investigated.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your case on 01273 609911, or email

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