We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy


Work and epilepsy - employees

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

This information is about looking for and staying in work. It looks at your rights in the workplace and ways the workplace can become more epilepsy-friendly. This might be down to reasonable adjustments being made after you have had a health and safety risk assessment (see below). Or by changing employer or employee attitudes to epilepsy. It also tells you how you can take action if you feel you are being treated unfairly at work.

Am I considered to be disabled if I have epilepsy?

You are likely to be classed as disabled by the equality laws if you have epilepsy that has a substantial effect on your day-to-day activities. Or would have a substantial effect, if you were not taking your epilepsy medicine.

If you have a type of epilepsy that is not currently causing any problems and doesn’t need epilepsy medicine, but could be triggered by specific certain circumstances, then you are likely to be covered. Some common triggers for epileptic seizures are:

  • Feeling tired
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Stress

Epilepsy Action has more information about things that trigger seizures

The equality laws are called the Equality Act in England, Scotland and Wales and the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland. They apply to you whether or not you take epilepsy medicines.

The equality laws cover everything to do with work including:

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

Epilepsy Action has more information about the equality laws

Epilepsy in the workplace - a TUC Guide

Epilepsy Action has worked in partnership with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to produce Epilepsy in the workplace – a TUC guide. This is to make sure their union representatives have an awareness of epilepsy, and the knowledge to advise people with epilepsy at work. The guide includes suggestions for making reasonable adjustments, if any are needed.


If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone on 0808 800 5050.


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 August 2018
    To be reviewed August 2019

Comments: read the 2 comments or add yours


Hi, I have worked for my company for 6years, no problems with my job until about 1year ago. I asked to go part time on a lower responsibility job. They agreed to this straight away. They asked me to work more hours when I said I couldn't I was then told they let me go part time as a favour to me and that might change now I couldn't, do more hours. I am worried they can force me to work extra. Thanks for any help you can give me.

Submitted by Jannette rogers on

Hi Jannette

The answer to your question will depend partly on what your contract says. Have a good look at your terms and conditions. If your current hours are fixed rather than to be reviewed it may not be possible for your employer to get you to do more hours.

My suggestion would be to check all this with the employment helpline ACAS. Their helpline number is 0300 123 1100.

In principle what an employer should do for a person with epilepsy is do a risk assessment with them. Then if any risks are identified they need to consider reasonable adjustments. Part of the answer to your question may also depend on why you wanted your hours reducing and whether that was a reasonable adjustment at the time.

I hope it works out okay for you.



Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

e-action newsletter

Subscribe to our e-action newsletter and stay informed

Subscribe to e-action newsletter feed