Dyslexic accountant, 26, was sacked after boss said he was 'demanding millennial'

·3 min read
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An accountant has won a disability discrimination case after he was sacked because of his dyslexia. (Getty)

An accountant has won a disability discrimination case after an employment tribunal found he was sacked because of his dyslexia.

Jay Patel, 26, was dismissed just one month after being hired by London insurance brokers Lucy A Raymond & Sons.

The tribunal heard that the firm's managing director, Lucy Raymond-Williams, told Mr Patel he was "too demanding", just like "his generation of millennials".

He sued the company for both age and disability discrimination, but the tribunal dismissed his age claim, with a judge ruling that Mr Patel was offended because of the obstacles he had overcome in his life, rather than because of how old he was.

The tribunal found that the "millennials" comment was made to Mr Patel as he was sacked on 4 December 2020, which he interpreted as suggesting he had been given everything "on a plate".

Mr Patel was "distressed" by the comment and found it "objectionable", the tribunal said, because he had to overcome barriers in his life to achieve academic success.

The tribunal stated: "The parties are agreed, however, that Mrs Williams made a comment at this meeting about the claimant being too demanding, in common with his generation of millennials.

"We find that Mrs Williams did indeed make such a comment. We find that during this meeting the claimant was asking for feedback as to why he was being dismissed, and that one of the things that was offered by Mrs Williams was that the respondent found him too demanding and that this was a trait of the millennial generation.

"We find that the claimant interpreted this comment as suggesting that he had been given everything 'on a plate'.

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"We find that he was distressed about this comment, not so much of it relating to his age but more because he felt, as a disabled person, brought up by a single mother who prioritised his education, and who himself had overcome numerous barriers to achieve academic success, that very little in life had been handed to him on a plate."

Mr Patel's sacking came just a month after Mrs Raymond-Williams hired him because of his dyslexia. She had close family members with dyslexia and had sought to set up a dyslexia charity.

She told Patel during the tribunal: "You were my blue-eyed boy, my project to show what people with dyslexia can achieve."

A tribunal found Jay Patel was sacked because of his dyslexia from insurance brokers Lucy A Raymond & Sons in London, pictured. (Google)
A tribunal found Jay Patel was sacked because of his dyslexia from insurance brokers Lucy A Raymond & Sons in London, pictured. (Google)

The company had been searching for a fully qualified accountant, but decided instead to hire Mr Patel.

He had earned a first-class honours degree in accounting and management at university and became part-accredited with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Mrs Raymond-Williams, who founded her firm in 2000, hired Mr Patel at the beginning of November 2020.

The tribunal said: "At some point Mr Patel explained that he had dyslexia. This revelation by Mr Patel was a major factor and was decisive in him being offered the job.

"In her evidence to us she said Mr Patel 'landed in the job because of his dyslexia' and that it was 'an enormous privilege to help' him."

On Mr Patel's first day in the job, a new national coronavirus lockdown was announced and he had to work from home.

He asked the company's HR department about funding to complete his accounting qualifications on a number of occasions.

The tribunal heard Mr Patel struggled with aspects of his work at the company, and that Mrs Williams decided around 1 December 2020 to "dispense with his services".

It reported that she said: "I had taken the wrong decision in giving a dyslexic person the job."

Patel is in line to receive compensation after the tribunal upheld his complaint he was discriminated against because of his disability.

Yahoo News UK has reached out to Lucy A Raymond & Sons for comment.

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