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.
What can I do if I feel I have been treated unfairly at work?
Three important things to do are:
- Talk to people
- Keep notes
- Know your rights
Talk to people
Talk to the people involved. This might be your colleagues, 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 not, you could ask to bring a colleague or friend with you to meetings when you are discussing your work situation.
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 you doctor, they can only get this with your consent. They should only ask for information that is relevant to your epilepsy.
How do I take legal action against someone who has treated me unfairly at work?
Seek advice as soon as possible. This is because there are strict time limits for bringing cases to Employment Tribunals and courts.
You can get advice from different organisations, including Citizen’s Advice, ACAS, or your trade union. You can also take legal advice from a solicitor. Taking legal action can be very expensive. Depending on your financial circumstances and the issues involved, you might be eligible for the Legal Aid scheme. This can cover some, or all, of your costs. You might consider opting for legal expenses insurance cover, for example when taking out house contents insurance. This is usually inexpensive and can be valuable if you have problems at work.
If you decide to employ a solicitor, it’s 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 information about organisations that can offer help, support and advice in the UK, if you feel you are being unfairly treated.
Staying in work
If you are having problems at work because of your epilepsy, it might help to talk to your employer.
Talk to your employers
Keep your employer up-to-date with any changes to your health that could have an effect on your work. Make a note of your discussions and of any changes to your working conditions that are made as a result. This would be useful if your work situation became really difficult and you needed to raise a grievance. If your epilepsy has changed, you could ask your employer to arrange a new risk assessment for you. And if you are off sick because of your epilepsy, keep them up-to-date with your situation.
If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website.
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 October 2015To be reviewed October 2018