Managers slammed for treating dyslexic workers unfairly

Jan 06 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Employers are not doing enough to tackle dyslexia in the workplace and often treat dyslexic workers unfairly, the TUC has warned.

The condition, commonly known as the “hidden disability”, affects up to 2.9 million workers in the UK, it has estimated.

Its report, Dyslexia in the workplace, warned that, in much the same way that schools once used to think of dyslexic pupils as “thick”, so managers who do not appreciate the link between dyslexia and common performance problems will often judge dyslexic employees unfairly.

Many people with dyslexia are unaware of their condition and can be anxious, frustrated or suffer from low self-esteem at work.

Workers with dyslexia often find it hard to follow written or spoken instructions, deal with maps, charts and tables, write memos, letters and reports, give presentations, schedule work and meetings and keep track of appointments, it said.

But, while dyslexic people may have problems with certain aspects of their work, they are also likely to have strengths in other areas.

Amending working practices can ensure both the employee and the company benefit, the TUC suggested.

A one size fits all approach does not work and employers must appreciate the full range of difficulties dyslexic workers encounter, provide relevant training and modify documents or instructions to make them easier to read or understand, the report recommended.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The Disability Discrimination Act has gone some way towards breaking down certain taboos around disability at work and has helped many workers get the help and support they need.

“However many others have perfected the art of masking their problems, which can cause them unnecessary stress and lead to poor productivity,” he added.