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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 have 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.

tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/EpilepsyInTheWorkplace.pdf

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.

Code: 
B135.05

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 6 comments or add yours

Comments

Hi

I was diagnosed with epilepsy 18 years ago .In that time I have had 5 seizures. Two of which because I forgot to take my medication.
In October 2016 I had a seizure in the house after being seizure free for 8years. I worked as an early years worker and had a risk assessment done and plans were but in place. I never felt I was being treated different.
After taking early retirement . I am 62 years old. I got offered a job in a prison visited centre after having being a volunteer. My manager was aware about my epilepsy but as my last one was 8 years ago and the one before was 8years
she was quite confident at me being left on my own to run the centre. and
I drove and part of my responsible was carrying out responsibility related to my job..
However in October 2016 I had a seizure and it has all changed.
My manager now won't leave me alone and has taken on the responsibility of doing some of my jobs because I know don't drive. I still could do these tasks but she is afraid I have seizure and is covering herself. I understand but it has but be under pressure. I have been a happy ,positive person who is enthusiastic about life but now feel different. I notice others don't realise each person with epilepsy ir different and should be elated accordingly . I thought I was handling my change in circumstances but feel quite down and depressed .I feel I am now getting treated differently. I love my job and my manager is great but feel I am constantly being watched .
In October 2017 I will get my driving licence back and feel I just want to get on with my life without people judging me.
I would love to meet up with others to talk about how I feel but feel I am overreacting . I have never told anyone how I feel and on the outside I don't let others know how I feel. I feel happier at writing down how I feel and I wanted to share my feelings with others.

Submitted by Carol smith on

Hi Carol

 

Thanks for sharing your experience here. It must be really upsetting to feel like you’re being treated differently at work since your seizure. Your manager does have a responsibility to keep you safe at work, but this shouldn’t have to mean watching you constantly. If there’s a possibility you could have a seizure at work they should do a risk assessment to check what duties you can and can’t safely do. They should involve you in this process so they are basing any decisions on your individual circumstances, not just assumptions about your epilepsy.

 

Have you tried talking to your manager about how you feel? Our advice about what to do if you’re being treated unfairly at work might help.

 

If you’d like to meet with other people with epilepsy, you could check if we have a coffee and chat group near you.

 

Our trained advisers are also here for you if you want to talk anything through. Call the Epilepsy Action Helpline free on 0808 800 5050, Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.

 

Grace

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

My daughter was diagnosed with petite mal at three years old and is now 25. She had her first grand mal when she was 27 weeks pregnant and is now having grand mal seizures every 2 months and petite mal every day. Her doctor has signed her unfit to work until her epilepsy has stabilised her maternity leave has now ended. Her partner works and earns too much for them to get any help but they are really struggling with all their bills. Is there anything she can claim eg ESA

Submitted by LISA SHUTTLE on

Hi Lisa

 

Thank you for your question.

 

People with epilepsy may be able to get ESA if their epilepsy (or another illness or health condition) affects their ability to work. We have a webpage giving information on epilepsy and ESA

 

To see if your daughter would be entitled to ESA or other benefits it would be best for her to contact a welfare benefits organisation, such as Turn2us.

 

They will take your daughter’s health and family issues into consideration when looking at what benefits she may be entitled too.

 

Turn2us is a confidential service which helps you to find out about benefits and grants they may be entitled to.
Freephone: 0808 802 2000
Website: turn2us.org.uk

 

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am until 5.30pm.

 

Regards

 

Diane

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

 

Submitted by rich on

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.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

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