Apprentice with Dyscalculia Awarded £52,000 in Victimisation and Discrimination Case
In the case of Miss S Molyneux v Apprentify Limited, Miss Molyneux was awarded £52,348.25 after succeeding with her victimisation and disability discrimination claims. This came after the employment tribunal learned of the claimant’s dyscalculia diagnosis.
Below, we explore what happened in the case and the tribunal’s judgement. Then, we discuss dyscalculia and why it could fall under disability discrimination.
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The Facts in Miss S Molyneux v Apprentify Limited
Victimisation Claim Background
Miss Molyneux (“The Claimant”) began working for Apprentify Limited (“The Respondent”) on 14 May 2022 as a social media executive. She had previously started an apprenticeship elsewhere but continued with the respondent when she began working for them. Her apprenticeship was expected to be completed by 11 September 2022 but required her to pass a maths exam before completion.
Around two months before her exam, Miss Molyneux was asked to undertake a mock test. The claimant explained to the tribunal that this wasn’t fair because of her dyscalculia, which affected her mathematical skills. In fact, she hadn’t sat a maths exam for several years since she’d completed her GCSEs. Furthermore, to help prepare for her actual exam, Miss Molyneux had been receiving ongoing support from a functional skills tutor.
However, on 14 June, without any reasonable adjustments being made, Miss Molyneux took and failed her mock exam. Also, on 11 July, the claimant made a report of alleged sexual harassment.
Miss Molyneux is Dismissed
Despite this, Miss Molyneux was dismissed with effect from 3 August, with her failed test presented as the reason. In response, she appealed her decision and attended an appeal hearing on 30 September.
First, the claimant highlighted inaccuracies in the respondent’s notes, stating the claimant had withdrawn from her apprenticeship. Miss Molyneux insisted that she hadn’t said she wanted to leave. Furthermore, she believed her dismissal arose because of her disability. Finally, she felt the respondent saw her as a “troublemaker” after reporting the alleged sexual harassment.
Following the appeal hearing, time was taken to look into the issues raised by Miss Molyneux. Unfortunately, on 31 October, the claimant learned that her appeal had been unsuccessful. She was told there was evidence of her wanting to leave her apprenticeship and not of any discrimination.
Employment Tribunal Finds Victimisation
After deliberating the facts, the tribunal found that a proper disciplinary process hadn’t been followed during Miss Molyneux’s dismissal. This was partly because she hadn’t been allowed to respond to the claims made by the respondent.
What’s more, they ruled she’d faced Equality Act 2010 victimisation after making a protected disclosure concerning the sexual harassment report. They also held that she’d been subject to disability discrimination after being dismissed due to failing her mock exam caused by her dyscalculia.
As a result, the tribunal upheld Miss Molyneux’s claims of victimisation and disability discrimination. They concluded by awarding her £52,348.25, including compensation for injury to feelings.
What is Dyscalculia?
In the above victimisation and discrimination case, the claimant had dyscalculia. This formed part of her claim, but readers may need clarification on what it is. Below, we explore exactly what dyscalculia is and why it contributed to her discrimination claim.
Information provided by the NHS outlines that dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that affects individuals’ mathematical skills. They add that roughly 5% of the UK population has it, and it can affect people in different ways. Some may have difficulty seeing numbers, whilst others could find everyday numerical tasks more challenging.
Despite this, the NHS insist that a diagnosis of dyscalculia does not mean an individual will be unintelligent. In fact, they state that people with this learning difficulty could have strong strategic thinking and be very intuitive.
Why Does it Fall Under Disability Discrimination?
Since individuals with dyscalculia can be knowledgeable, people may wonder why it could form part of a disability discrimination claim. Under the Equality Act 2010, disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially affects one’s ability to complete everyday tasks over the long term.
Therefore, since dyscalculia can substantially affect one’s ability to complete everyday financial tasks, it could be classed as a disability. In such circumstnaces, less favourable treatment concerning this learning disability may form disability discrimination and entitle the individual to compensation.
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