A Starbucks employee in southwest London won a dyslexia discrimination case against the coffee giant, BBC reported Tuesday. Starbucks had accused Meseret Kumulchew of falsifying documents after she mistakenly entered wrong information, the report added.
A tribunal found that Kumulchew was discriminated against at Starbucks’ branch in Clapham after she made mistakes due to her difficulties with reading, writing and telling the time — dyslexia. She had filed a case against Starbucks at an employment tribunal alleging disability discrimination. She said that she had told her employer about her condition.
"There was a point that I wanted to commit suicide. I am not a fraud. The name fraud itself shouldn't exist for me. It's quite serious. I nearly ended my life. But I had to think of my kids. I know I'm not a fraud. I just made a mistake," Kumulchew told BBC.
Kumulchew added that she wanted help and not special treatment from her employer. "I'll struggle, but don't worry, help me and I'll get there in my own time. I'm not going to affect your business, because for every customer I'll roll out the red carpet. I love my job. Giving them a coffee may not be a big deal, but I'm making their life, for the day at least, happy," she told the news network.
The tribunal ruled in favor of Kumulchew stating that Starbucks did not make reasonable adjustments for its employee’s disability and discriminated against her because of the disorder. It also found that the company victimized Kumulchew and it appeared to possess little or no knowledge or understanding of equality issues. The judgment was made against Starbucks in mid-December 2015, but a separate hearing to determine any compensation is expected to take place sometime later, BBC reported.
"We are in ongoing discussions with this Starbucks partner [employee] around specific workplace support and we are not able to comment on a case that has not yet been completed," Starbucks said in a statement, according to BBC. The Seattle-headquartered company added that it was committed to having a "diverse and inclusive workforce" that "feel welcome and comfortable in our stores."