Performance reviews and disciplinary hearings

Approximately 10 per cent of the population is dyslexic to varying degrees.

It could be that an employee's dyslexia has not been apparent until something changes in the workplace. Changes can cause particular problems for dyslexic people.

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, such as atypical problem-solving and entrepreneurship.

Poor performance may lead to a review or even a disciplinary hearing. It is important to appreciate that employees often do not disclose their dyslexia for fear of discrimination. However, employers have a legal duty to seek awareness of disability conditions where the individual is displaying obvious signs that something is amiss.

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 (including specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia) is a breach of The Equality Act 2010.