We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

Epilepsy, employment and the law

The information in this section is about epilepsy and working in the UK. If you live outside the UK, you can find out about working and epilepsy in your country by contacting your local epilepsy group

UK laws that can help you in the workplace because you have epilepsy

If you have epilepsy and want to work, it is important to know about the equality laws. If you live in England, Scotland and Wales, you are covered by the Equality Act. If you live in Northern Ireland, you are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act.

The equality laws mean that employers must not treat you unfairly because of your epilepsy. They must protect you from bullying or harassment related to your epilepsy from other employees. And they must make any reasonable adjustments they can to help you into, or to stay in, work.

 The equality laws cover everything to do with work, including the following.

  • Job adverts
  • Application forms
  • Interviews
  • Job offers
  • Conditions of employment
  • Training
  • Promotions
  • Dismissal
  • Redundancy

Reasonable adjustments

The equality laws mean that employers have to make changes or adjustments to help you, if it is reasonable for them to do so. This is to make sure that you are not at a disadvantage compared to someone without epilepsy.

Here are some examples of adjustments that it may be reasonable for an employer to make.

When you are looking for work
If you usually have seizures first thing in the morning, an employer could arrange for you to have a job interview in the afternoon.

When you are in work
You might need to take time off work for medical appointments for your epilepsy. You might also have sick days because of your epilepsy. Your employer could choose to record and consider these separately to time you take off for other reasons. By doing this, the time that you take off work because of your epilepsy would not have a negative effect on your work sickness record.

For some people, tiredness or not getting enough sleep triggers their seizures. Some people find that rotating shift patterns make seizures more likely. If your seizures are triggered in this way, your employer may be able to ensure you work regular shifts.

Sometimes, an employer might have to pay for reasonable adjustments to be made to help you. They must not ask you to pay towards this.

If your employer doesn’t make reasonable adjustments to help you, this could be illegal. But sometimes it might not be possible to make any adjustments that would make a job safe for you if you have uncontrolled seizures. In this case, it would be legal for the employer to not employ you because of your epilepsy.

Here are some examples of jobs that would be difficult to make safe for you, if you have uncontrolled seizures:

  • Working at unprotected heights (for example as a scaffolder)
  • Working near open water
  • Working with high voltage or open circuit electricity
  • Working on or near moving vehicles
  • Working with unguarded fires, ovens and hot plates

Reasons why an employer might not employ you because you have epilepsy

Employers should not use your epilepsy as a reason not to give you a job, unless they have very good reasons. Here are some of those possible reasons.

Health and safety - An employer can legally refuse to give you a job if your epilepsy poses a health and safety risk to you or somebody else. For example, if you have seizures, they could refuse to employ you in a job where you have to climb up ladders.

Driving - An employer can refuse to give you a driving job, if you don’t hold the right type of driving licence. For example, if you have had seizures in the last ten years, legally you are not allowed to hold a driving licence that allows you to drive heavy goods vehicles. So, an employer can refuse to employ you as a lorry driver.

Armed Forces - Jobs in the Armed Forces are not covered by the equality laws. So the Armed Forces can refuse to employ you because you have epilepsy or a history of epilepsy.

Unreasonable adjustments - If there are no reasonable adjustments that can be made to make a job safe for you, an employer can refuse to give you the job.

Things you can do if you feel you are being treated unfairly at work

Talk to people
Talk to the people involved. This might be your colleague, your line manager or your employer. If you’re a member of a union, you could ask them to support you when you are talking to them. If you’re not a member of a union, you could ask to bring a colleague or friend with you to meetings discussing your work situation.

Keep notes
Keep notes of any actions, or comments made, that you are concerned about. Also, keep a note of attempts you have made to try and sort the situation out. This can be useful information if you later decide to take more formal action, such as raising a grievance or getting legal advice.

Know your rights

Check your contract, in particular the terms and conditions and the grievance procedure.

If your employer wants information from your doctor, they can only get this with your consent. They should only ask for information that is relevant to your epilepsy.

Get legal advice
If you want to make a legal complaint about unfair treatment by your employer, you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This is because there are strict time limits for bringing cases to Employment Tribunals and courts.

Taking legal action against someone who has treated you unfairly at work

Taking legal action can be very expensive. Depending on your financial circumstances and the issues involved, you may be eligible for the Legal Aid scheme. This can cover some, or all, of the costs.

 If you decide to employ a solicitor, it is important to check at the beginning how they will expect to be paid. You should also check that they have a contract to provide advice and representation through the Legal Aid scheme, if you qualify for it. 

Epilepsy Action has more information on the Equality Act

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. See Work and epilepsy. 

Pay it forward

This resource is freely available as part of Epilepsy Action’s commitment to improving life for all those affected by epilepsy.

On average it costs £414 to produce an advice and information page – if you have valued using this resource, please text FUTURE to 70500 to donate £3 towards the cost of our future work. Terms and conditions. Thank you

We can provide references and information on the source material we use to write our epilepsy advice and information pages. Please contact our Epilepsy Helpline by email at helpline@epilepsy.org.uk.

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Epilepsy Action would like to thank Professor Sayeed Khan, Specialist in Occupational Medicine, Chief Medical Adviser to EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and Judith Hogarth, Solicitor, Excello Law, for their contribution.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated November 2013
    To be reviewed November 2016

Comments: read the 27 comments or add yours


I've been told that because I'm not taking medication for Junior Myoclonic Epilepsy it's not covered by the DDA / Equality Act is this correct.

Submitted by Barry on

Hi Barry

You are covered by the DDA/Equality Act whether you take epilepsy medicine or not. You are covered even if you are no longer having seizures, but had epilepsy in the past.

If you would like to discuss your situation with a trained adviser, please feel free to contact the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. 


Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

I have currently been working for my current employer for 6 and a half years but recently I have been diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy since 15th August 2013, I had a seizure on 7th may 2013 which brought it to light. At the time I was working as a machine operator in which work said was an unsafe environment for me to work in which was understandable and therefore they found a different job in the factory for me which is safe. I was off for a total of 6 month during this time and started back at work on 4th November 2013. Unfortunately I had another seizure on 5th December 2013 in which my works doctor had told me I needed some time off to go seizure free till further notice. I went into work on 6th January 2014 to find out any further progress as to when I can start back. I was then delivered some disappointing and rather worrying news that the works doctor won't entertain me going back to work till I get my drivers licence back which means would have to go at least almost a full year up to 5th December 2014. As I used up all my sick pay during the previous 6 months I had off last year I'm very worried about my living situation as I don't know if I'll be getting any pay at all. I would appreciate any help please.

Submitted by martin on

hi ive been diagonsed eplipetic since the age of eighteen i was was in a care company for seven years it took them two and a half years before they did a risk assesment on me they were asked to do reasonable ajustments like not giving me to much information all in one go and they were advised about getting some small note pads nothing that would cost them anything colleges new i had epilipsey and new my triggers and how to avoid them and so did my friend s at work it was all going well untill i had to report abuse at work i reported it in the best way i could the polices were so long but then the real trouble started they the kept saying well you should be able to remeber what the policies says and then came the disaplinarys all three of them for not following exactly what the policy said then the bullying by other staff and by a manager i was basically told that i had to remember what the policys said just like everyone else all probley 400 pages it had never been a problem with them until i reported them for abuse then but then every time i reported things i got disaplined my care company used me as some kind of trophy to say to people who came we employ people with eplipsey and we believe in equally rights if only that was the case what it said on paper and on there fancy website was not what happened behind closed doors thankyou tracy

Submitted by tracy gibson on

Hi Tracy

I’m really sorry to hear about the very difficult time you have had at work. I think from what you say that you are probably no longer there. I really hope you have been able to find other work where you can be happier.

If you were thinking about complaining about your treatment, you could always contact either ACAS or the Equality Advisory Support Service. Although there will be a time limit after which it is no longer possible to register a complaint.

Or you might have decided that you are happier to have it all behind you.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. 


Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

I am at present finding myself in a situation where my job is under threat. (Graduate Library Asistant at London Metropolitan University.) After 26 years continuous employment my new managers have decided they have had enough of my seizures (both petit and grand), absences from work, and some degree of forgetfulness, and occasional drowsiness either because of my medication or my condition. (They do not understand the similarity in appearence between a petit mal and drowsiness.) They have had their own medical adviser examine me, and I am getting the impression he is going to advise them my condition is not going to improve. (Well that is no surprise : I do not expect a miracle cure.) He is writing a report for them which will be copied to me. He is not an expert in epilepsy and as far as I am aware they have not spoken to my consultants at the National Hospital or my GP (they certainly have not asked for my consent). Coming up to 57 years of age I am naturally very concerned that I will not find another job for which I am suitably qualified if I am either retired or sacked on medical grounds. My trade union (UNISON) is backing me. I do not know to what extent the Disability Discrimination Act gives me any protection. Any advice which you could provide myself and my union would be deeply appreciated. Thank you.

Submitted by Rudi Affolter on

Hi Rudi

Sorry to hear your new manager is making things very difficult for you. It’s good your union is involved. If we can supply them with any information to help with your situation, we are more than happy to do so.

Because of your epilepsy you are covered by the Equality Law. This means your new manager and your employer must not discriminate against you. If necessary they should make any ‘reasonable adjustment’ to help keep you in work. This is to make sure that you are not put at a disadvantage to a non-disabled person, just because you have epilepsy.

A new manager can’t just decide you can no longer do your work. If they have concerns they should try helping you. They should look at any reasonable adjustment you already have in place and if necessary arrange another risk assessment.  This assessment may involve a medical with occupational health. The medical assessment isn’t to say if your epilepsy is going to get better or not. It’s to assess if there any reasonable adjustments to help keep you in work. Your employer should do their best to make sure that you are not put at a disadvantage because of your epilepsy.

As you have worked there for 26 years and managed to do your work. Unless there has be a dramatic change in you ability to do your job, your manager will have to justify why after 26 years you are no longer able to do your job. If you ability to carry out some duties at work have got worse since you last saw your epilepsy specialist, it could be helpful to contact him. Your specialist could re-assess you. This could be to see if your new symptoms are related to your epilepsy medicine or your epilepsy its self. By talking to your specialist, even if there is nothing they can do, that would show your manager that you are trying to do your best to help yourself. If you have seen your specialist recent, you could ask them if they would be willing to do a letter to your manager.

Regarding sick leave, the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) suggests companies record sick leave due to a disability separately and, look at it separately from general sick leave. If they don’t, it could be seen as indirect discrimination and/or discrimination arising from a disability. Here is a link to the fact sheet on Flexible working and time off for employers produced by the EASS– this is found within the Equality Act starter kit. It’s advisable for you and your union to look at your terms and condition of employment, which will explain the companies’ policy for sick leave. If your employer has tried to be more flexible to accommodate your epilepsy related absence and there is still a problem you or your union may wish to discuss this further with EASS.

I hope this is of help. If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.


Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by JohnA on

Thank you for your advice, deeply appreciated.

Submitted by Rudi Affolter on

Hi I'm a cleaner in an abattoir and have to work around dangerous machinery and I'm constantly bending and mauling very heavy bins for long hours (8-3) and then I'm cleaning until (5-6). My shifts are irregular but Normally start at 8 unless the place is really really busy, due to the amount of physical work involved and the place I'm working in I'm frightened my epilepsy is going to get a hold on me.
I've currently been off for around 4 months with doctors notes as before I never had been diagnosed with epilepsy. As a child around the age of 10-11 I had my first ever seizure and from there on out until the age of around 12 I finally got to the hospital with my mother for a sleep deprivation test. This showed no abnormalities whatsoever and I carried on with my life as normal, however over the years I have had many seizures and they are very infrequent and there is no underlining cause for them. I am currently 21 and must have had at least 60 seizures from the age of 11-12 but I have lost count. In the last month I have only just found out I have epilepsy after going for lots of tests including MRI and ECG (if that's what it's called, I lose track of things) also the sleep deprivation test I had prior to being a young child. After waiting several weeks for the result and to hear from the comsultant my doctor called me in to the surgery to reveal my results and I was shocked.
What's worse for me is that when I started my job (earlier last year before diagnosis for epilepsy) I didn't say had epilepsy as I was never diagnosed with it in the first place (until recently after being off with doctors notes)so I must be safe in a sense (hopefully) to be covered under the equality act?
I have been told that the employers must offer you another role within the company and I know that is not possible as the slaughtermen use dangerous machinery and the office is completely fully staffed by several women. So my next step is to ask for help off you into how I would contact my employer about the occupation health (something?? Along the lines of that) and then for this person to contact my consultant on where to take matters further. It is very confusing for me as my employers have been good to me and have paid sick pay into my bank for me being off for so long for my seizures being investigated, I have had 2-3 seizures (not in the workplace) since working there and have lots of funny turns/dizzy spells but I try my best to carry on and finish the job.
Please could you provide me advice in how to contact my employers and mention occupational health as this doesn't make sense to me.

I appreciate your time in reading this, please help if you can!
Regards Daniel

Submitted by Daniel hardwick on

Hi Daniel

Thank you for your message. This must be a confusing time for you, but I hope our information will help.

It’s good that your employers have been so understanding about your time off. I think you now need to tell them that you have finally got a diagnosis, and that diagnosis is epilepsy. The fact that you didn’t tell them that you had epilepsy sooner shouldn’t be a problem, as you didn’t have a diagnosis until recently. However, now you know you have epilepsy, you can also have it treated, which is a step forward. Once you tell them about your epilepsy, your are protected from unfair discrimination by the equality laws.

In terms of your role at work, your employers will need to do a risk assessment for you, and if necessary, make reasonable adjustments to make sure you and people around you are safe at work. This might be where occupational health are involved. One adjustment that can be helpful for people with epilepsy is to have regular sleep patterns. This means that you may need to avoid rotating shifts. If there are no adjustments they can make, then they need to see if there is another role you could fill. This might be just for a short time until your epilepsy symptoms are controlled. But if there are no adjustments they could make, or another role you could fill, they could dismiss you on medical grounds.

Have a look at our work and epilepsy information, which will answer many of your questions. If you have any more concerns, please contact us again either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.


Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

Is it reasonable for an employer to require a full driving license for a post that most would consider to be a desk job?

Submitted by Rachel on

Hi Rachel

Thank you for your question.

Employers can not insist on a driving licence unless it is essential to the job. If they do, this would be discrimination under the Equality Laws.

The equality laws mean that employers must not treat you unfairly because of your epilepsy. And they must make any reasonable adjustments they can to help you into work with them.

 The equality laws cover everything to do with work, including the following.

  • Job adverts
  • Application forms
  • Interviews
  • Job offers

There are many times people find alternative ways of getting around when needed for their job.

If someone is able to get around by bus or train they can use their discount fare pass, so usually there is no added cost. Some people may be able to cycle (we are aware of carers in the community cycling to their clients). 

If public transport isn’t an option, for example you may need to travel to remote locations, some people can get help through Access to Work. Access to work can help with travel to and from work, and also travelling while at work if someone is not able to drive due to their epilepsy. More information about Access to Work is available from gov.uk

Websites: gov.uk/access-to-work (for England, Scotland or Wales); nidirect.gov.uk (for Northern Ireland).

It does sound like this company’s application procedure is not fair. For guidance on how to take this further may I suggest you contact Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)? EASS provides information advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues to individuals in England, Scotland and Wales. Their phone number is 0808 800 0082.

I hope this is of help. If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. I’d also like to hear how you get on.


Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

I have been working for my company for over 7 years. I suffer with epilepsy for almost 5 years. So far work have been very flexible and helpful for me.
I am on a management level and recently I asked to step dawn from this role as I couldn't manage the stress which resulted in many fits.
I was told I can step dawn but I can't stay on the same department.
I work for a massive company with over 5000 employees, and over 10 different departments.
I was offered to go to a department with shift 6:00- 14:30, where everyone is aware that I can not do mornings because the most risks for me having fits is the morning. I had to refuse this and was told that if they won't find a space for me I might have to leave.
The company have over 5000 employers and it's working 24hrs. How is it possible they can not find me a place to accommodate my needs?
Are they in right to let me go?
Please help...

Submitted by Mike on

Hi Mike

Due to your epilepsy you are covered by the Equality Laws. This means your employer must not discriminate against you or treat you any less favourably than other employees.  

When your employer looked at your present position, their decision on not being able to make reasonable adjustments had to be justified. For example, it would be reasonable for them to allow you to alter some of your duties.

If with reasonable adjustments you are unable to keep in your present position, it would be reasonable for your employer to offer you a more suitable job role.

If moving to another role within the company is the only option, they must help you with this move.  If a role isn’t ideal for you, again they need to see if they can do reasonable adjustment to make it work for you and for them.

It would not be discrimination if they can not find you another role within the company, as long as they have done their best to help you find one. But again, they must be able to explain the help and support they gave you, and explain any decisions they made.

If you feel you are being discriminated against because of your epilepsy, talk it over with your manager or someone with a responsibility for human resources. If you belong to a union, you may want to contact them for help. There are also some organisations that may be able to offer you advice and support. These include:

I hope things work out well at work. If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.


Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

My situation is technically related to the problem I have found myself in at university but this may be the most relevant forum.
I have primary generalised epilepsy which is triggered by stress and tiredness, but is typically very well managed. The university are aware that these factors contribute to my seizures and I have a disability profile.
I am studying occupational therapy and was put on triage ward in acute mental health setting for my final placement. I was concerned that due to the volatile nature of the setting that the stress I was feeling as a result of some of the aggressive patients; that enduring this for 8 weeks would cause me to have a seizure. I therefore asked my educators (the OTs on placement) if I could move on to the treatment wards which I found less stressful. One of my educators was VERY unsupportive from the beginning about my epilepsy, asking whether she should put me in a taxi if i had a fit on placement (I have tonic clonic seizures!). She is also the service manager and told me that I could not go on to treatment wards because of staffing. The university were called in and it was agreed that I would be escorted on triage until I became used to the environment (the service manager was not present at the time). As I knew I had to catch up to impress my educator I was working 10 hour days and 3 hours commute, and at half way point when the tutors revisited, I was informed that I was failing due to lack of empathy and being judgemental and stereotypical. As a result, I decided to withdraw but when attempting to discuss my educators if there was away around to bring up my grade I was told I could leave.
The university are refusing to acknowledge that there was discrimination going on in the placement and keep telling me that I am unwell and need to get a letter from my gp saying I am 'well' to go on placement again. However, the disability service, my gp and the uni counselling service have all confirmed that I am fine and not unwell to begin with, and that I was using stress management techniques from the beginning.
The Student Union have been quite useless, as I went to see them about finance and housing. I was reaching the end of my tenancy as I was 4.5 weeks off finishing my 2 years masters. Fortunately my estate agent worked wonders and I can stay in my current property. Although I don't pay tuition, I have worked out that due to rent (I am in London) and loss of earnings as a result of not being able to get a job, it is going to cost me about £13,000 and all I was trying to do was prevent myself from having a seizure. I would like to take legal action, but I am concerned that there is a lack of witnessed evidence, especially against the placement. I feel I have been backed into a bit of a corner, and I am looking at other jobs now and contemplating dropping out because no one will listen. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Submitted by Chantelle on

Hi Chantelle

Thanks for contacting us. This does sound like a very difficult position to be in. The best thing to do would be to contact the Disabled Students Helpline on 0800 328 5050 or students@disabilityrightsuk.org. More information is at disabilityrightsuk.org. For legal advice you can you could visit one of the several walk-in centres of the Law Centres Network, of which there are several in London. The Equality Advisory and Support Service can also help you understand how the equality laws may apply to your situation. Their helpline number is 0808 800 0082.

Epilepsy Action Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Sacha@Epilepsy ... on

I recently have been diagnosed with epilepsy , I told my employer straight away that I was having test and about the result , I have only been with the company 2 months but I had a seizure at work and took 2 days off following this because I felt awful , now my boss wants to see me and I am worried I won't have a job . I work in a nursing home so I am aware of the risks but she did a risk assessment a couple of weeks ago prior to my having a seizure at work , can she sack me ?

Submitted by Kirsten on

Hi Kirsten

Here is all our information about work. Because you have epilepsy you are covered by the Equality Act. If your employer knows you have epilepsy, they have to do a risk assessment. If any risks are identified, they then need to consider any possible reasonable adjustments.

A risk assessment is only as good as the day it is done. So as you have now had a seizure at work, they will need to re-assess the level of risk to you and the people around you at work.

The time while you are getting a diagnosis and going on epilepsy medicine hold more risks, This is because it is more likely you will have further seizures before you get to a level of the right epilepsy medicine which will work for you.

Hopefully your employer will be able to adjust your work until it looks more likely that you will be seizure-free. If they really cannot find any way of adjusting your work to deal with the risks, then it is legal for them to let go of you. But they would need to be really clear that they had considered all possible options. And you may want to think about any suggestion you could make of ways they could make reasonable adjustments too. Make sure you keep a note of everything that is said to you.

If you think your employer is not behaving fairly, the first thing to do is to look at the terms and conditions of your contract. This will give you information about how to take out a grievance procedure.

For more information about employment rights, contact ACAS. For more information about possible disability discrimination, contact the Equality Advisory Support Service. We also have links to other useful sources of information and advice.

I really hope this information is useful to you. But if we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Yours sincerely


Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

I have been having seizures since i was 17 yrs old and was diagnosed and put on medication at 20yrs old. After 2yrs i became seizure free. After i while i came off my medication as i was trying for a baby. I have recently had to stop trying for a baby and go back on medication as i have started having seizures again but unlike before (having them in my sleep)i have started having seizures first thing on a morning too. Needless to say i have had alot of sick days off work due to this and im worried about losing my job. In the past 2 months i have had quite alot of unconsecutive days off due to seizures and headaches and dizzyness as my employer says i cant work when im feeling dizzy. I have also just finished a 2wk sicknote and i am going back to the doctors as i am still suffering with strong headaches and dizzyness. I was asked to leave my last job because of this and i dont how i wlll pay my rent and bills if i have to leave this one or if i get made redundent or worse still sacked. All advise welcome thank you

Submitted by chelsea on

Hi Chelsea

It must be disappointing that your seizures have started again and you’ve had to put trying for a baby on hold.

I hope your doctors are able to get your seizures back under control. If you do have to go back on epilepsy medicine you could still try for a baby. But you should ask for pre-conception counselling. The aim of this is to make your future pregnancies as healthy as possible. It is also a chance to talk about any risks that your epilepsy or epilepsy medicine may pose to any future babies. (Some epilepsy medicines, taken at low doses, carry very little extra risk. Other epilepsy medicines carry a higher risk.)

It must also be a stressful time due to your work situation. The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) suggests companies record sick leave due to a disability separately and look at it separately from general sick leave. If they don’t, it could be seen as indirect discrimination and/or discrimination arising from a disability. Here is a link to the fact sheet on Flexible working and time off for employers produced by the Equality and Human Rights commission – this is found within the Equality Act starter kit.

It’s advisable for you to look at your terms and condition of employment, which will explain the company’s policy for sick leave. Ideally, your employer should be meeting with you to see if there is anything they can do the help. For example, could altering your hours or some of your duties help? If you don’t need to go home after every seizure, is there somewhere for you to rest until you are ready to return to work? If you haven’t already, you may wish to view our information on work. There is information on Risk assessments and Staying in work that I hope you will find helpful.

If your employer has tried to be more flexible to accommodate your epilepsy related absence and there is still a problem please contact EASS for advice on your rights at work due to the Equality Laws. You can also contact our helpline team who may also be able to offer help but from an epilepsy point of view.

Please feel free to contact us either by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

I hope things work out good for you.


Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

I have been working for my employee for over 5 years. And after such a long service I am entitle to 11 weeks sick pay.
In my work we have a Bradford points system to control and manage everyone's absence. When I had a fit at work and had to take a day off work I never got any points because they treat it as ongoing disability. Also I never received any sick pay for all the days I have been of sick.
If I am entitle to sick pay is it legal for them not to pay me ? I understand that I don't get the points, but this is how it works for everyone, if it is a disability or ongoing problem we don't get points...

Submitted by Mike on

Hello Mike

Thanks for your question. This may have to do with the terms and conditions of your employment contract. But, we are not experts in employment law. If you contact ACAS with your issue, they should be able to advise if your situation could be considered illegal, and the best way to proceed. The ACAS helpline telephone is 0300 123 1100.

I hope that helps.


Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Sacha-Epilepsy ... on

Can I just from bitter experience ACAS are useless, claim to be impartial, they are anything but! The odds are stacked against in proving discrimination because the employer has a endless number of ways to wriggle out or justify there actions. As an epileptic myself cut your loses and seek another job, hopefully they maybe more understanding. Its a uphill battle believe me!

Submitted by simon on

I'm sending this on behalf of my brother his been diganosed with epilepsy this passed year his employed and has been with his current employers the passed 7years plus he was given a pay rise just before he was diganosed as he was doing a good job but since his epilepsy his bosses are now saying as his unable to carry out his duty in full as there are power tools to be used and has to carry out jobs at a hight they are saying they are having to reduce his wages as it's un fair on the others is this fair and are they able to do this

Submitted by LouLou on

Hello LouLou

I believe we may have spoken. If I am mistaken, please feel free to contact us on the helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Kind regards


Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Sacha, Epilepsy... on

I am writing this on behalf of my son, who is struggling with work based problems due to a seizure which took place last May. He has had epilepsy since the age of 10. He started with petit mal which progressed to grand mal. He has been on medication since the age of 16 and has been seizure free for 12 years. He works in a factory which involves a lot of manual work, lifting etc and he has the use of aids, including a picker and other machinery to aid the lifting. Last May 2014 he had a sudden seizure, fortunately this happened at home. He went to see the doctor, and was advised to contact the DVLA. He was under the impression both via his doctor and his consultant that following a very successful update of his medication he would have his licence back in 6 months. His company were well aware of this. They made no alterations to the equipment he was using until 4 months in, when they suddenly announced due to him not having a driving licence he would have to do everything manually. My son was upset about this, as the lifting is very heavy and taxing on him. But he carried on, thinking it would be short lived. 6 months was up, but the DVLA have taken the decision to not reissue his licence for 12 months. The situation at work has now become intolerable. No help or amendments have been made, they still say it all has to be done manually. My son now has a bad back, bad knees and has developed a chronic foot condition. He has been to occupational health to explain his problems, but nothing has been done. So now they have moved him onto the production line. Still with lifting, but due to his recent foot problem etc he is finding this increasingly difficult. Yesterday the company sent him home on full pay until they sort this out - how does he stand legally. I am very concerned that they might dismiss him. He has his own house and is getting married later this year - he needs his job. As he can't drive thanks to the DVLA despite his GP and Consultant stating they are happy for him to drive, he can't even attend interviews for jobs, as most of them would need the use of a car to get to and from work. Any advise you can offer would be greatly appreciated. .

Submitted by Cathy on

Dear Cathy

Thank you for your question. It sounds like your son is having some terrible times due to his employment situation.

Due to his epilepsy, your son, is covered by the Equality laws. Therefore his employer should make reasonable adjustments to help him in his workplace. I can’t see how doing things manually is reasonable. Also its sounds like his employer isn’t looking at the duty of care they have to your son. All employers have a duty of care, to all their staff, this is in line with Health and Safety regulations.

We can give you general information on epilepsy and employment but I feel your son really needs some legal advice. If he isn’t in a trade union he could contact one of the helpful organisations listed on our website.

Regarding his driving. There is a driving regulation for when someone has a seizure after being seizure free for at least five years. The driving agency, in some cases, consider this to be an isolated seizure.

The regulation says:

6 months off driving from the date of the seizure. If there are clinical factors or investigation results which suggest an unacceptably high risk of a further seizure, i.e. 20% or greater per annum, this will be 12 months off driving from the date of the seizure.

(This regulation can only apply for one occasion.)

Before approaching the DVLA, you or your son may wish to discuss this further with our Epilepsy Helpline team. Sometimes, appealing against the DVLA can delay getting the licence back even more.


Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane@Epilepsy ... on

Contact Author

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.