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How can I support my dyslexic employees?


From October 1st 2010, disability discrimination issues became covered by the Equality Act. This replaced the Disability Act 1995. The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

An employer has a legal duty under The Equality Act 2010 to make appropriate reasonable adjustments to reduce the impact that a disability has on a person's ability to perform effectively in their role.

The Equality Act 2010

defines a disability as:

"a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".
Substantial is defined as 'more than trivial'.

Therefore, as dyslexia is a lifelong condition and has a significant impact on a person's day-to-day life, it meets the criteria of a disability and is covered by The Equality Act 2010.

An employer must not refuse to employ someone simply because they have a disability. They also have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace. This duty begins with the recruitment process, so recruitment and selection processes must be dyslexia-friendly to be lawful.

Read more about the Equality Act 2010

Employee discrimination

Employers must not discriminate against a disabled person in:

  • The recruitment and retention of employees
  • Promotion and transfers
  • Training and development
  • The dismissal process

In addition, we also have case law in relation to dyslexia and employment. This shows that employers need to:

  • Ensure that managers and colleagues of dyslexic people are aware of the condition and reasonable adjustments that need to be made.
  • Ensure that dyslexic people are not directly or indirectly bullied as a consequence of their dyslexia.

Dyslexia is covered by the Equality Act 2010, so employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for dyslexic staff members in the workplace.

If a person with a disability feels they have been discriminated against they may want to take their case to an Employment Tribunal. If they win the case, they may be able to claim for financial loss and damages for injuries to feelings. The Tribunal may instruct the employer to make a reasonable adjustment to enable the dyslexic person to work.

Public Sector Equality Duty

The Public Sector Equality Duty (section 149 of the Act) came into force on 5 April 2011. The Equality Duty applies to public bodies and others carrying out public functions. It supports good decision-making by ensuring public bodies consider how different people will be affected by their activities, helping them to deliver policies and services which are efficient and effective; accessible to all; and which meet different people's needs.