Performance Reviews and Disciplinary Hearings

Around 10% of the population have dyslexia. Many dyslexic adults in the workplace have never been formally identified or assessed. Others may prefer not to disclose their dyslexia for fear of discrimination. In many cases, individuals may have poor self-awareness and understanding of how their dyslexic difficulties can impact on the many different circumstances which may present in the workplace.

Everything may be going well, but all too often changes can cause particular problems for the dyslexic employee. These are frequently:

  • A change of job description requiring a greater emphasis on written documentation or report writing. (Promotion may have this effect too.)
  • An introduction of new methods of working or IT systems.
  • A new line manager with a more rigid, bureaucratic and less sympathetic management style.

It is well recognised that people with specific learning difficulties like dyslexia can be particularly susceptible to stress. Under stress, dyslexic difficulties can become more pronounced, leading to further performance issues, more stress and a further decline in efficiency. In these circumstances it is not uncommon for the employee to end up off work with stress or depression.

Where dyslexia is well supported at work and with colleagues and management sensitive to individual working styles, dyslexic difficulties are likely to be less pronounced and good performance maintained. It is also important to appreciate that being dyslexic can bring particular strengths which can be uniquely beneficial to the workplace.

Poor performance may lead to review or even a disciplinary hearing. It is important that possible (or known) dyslexic issues are considered and investigated. Appropriate support or ‘reasonable adjustments’ should be put in place and well established before the situation can be further reviewed. Failure to implement reasonable adjustments for a disability is a breach of the Equality Act.

For further information, employers can order the BDA Code of Practice for Employers.