We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy


Areas of life where the equality laws can help

This information about the equality laws is for people who live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

If you are looking for information about disability discrimination in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.


All areas of employment are covered: job advertisements, application forms, interviews, job offers, terms of employment, training or promotion opportunities, dismissal or redundancy.

All employers have to consider you on an individual basis for your suitability to do a job.

The only exceptions to this are jobs in the armed forces, which are not covered by the equality laws.


Schools, colleges, universities and providers of adult education should make sure that you are treated fairly.

Access to goods, facilities and services

People or organisations that provide any kind of goods, facilities or services (including free services) have to make sure that they do not treat you unfairly because of your epilepsy. Service providers must not refuse to provide you with a service, or provide the service to a worse standard, for a reason related to your epilepsy.

Service providers should make reasonable adjustments, and think ahead about the needs of people with epilepsy or other disabled people who may use their services. They should not wait until they are asked to make adjustments by individual service users.

Examples of service providers are shops, cafes, restaurants, banks, places of worship, cinemas and toddler groups.


There are special rules about insurance and the equality acts, see epilepsy, equality laws and insurance.

Buying, renting or managing land or property

There are rules for landlords and other people connected with selling, letting or managing land or property. They mustn’t treat you unfairly for a reason relating to your epilepsy.

Health and social care

Hospitals and NHS Trusts must actively look for ways of making sure that disabled people, including people with epilepsy, are treated fairly. They must also take steps to meet your needs. This is the case even if it means giving you more favourable treatment than someone who doesn’t have epilepsy.

Transport – except aircraft and shipping

Providers of transport services must comply with the equality laws. Transport services include breakdown recovery vehicles, hire or rental vehicles, public service vehicles, rail vehicles and, in Northern Ireland private hire vehicles and taxis.

Reasonable adjustments made by transport providers are ‘anticipatory’. This means that they should think ahead about the needs of all disabled people who may use their services. They should make reasonable adjustments in advance and not wait until they are asked to make adjustments by individual service users.

European law

The reasonable adjustment duty does not apply to aircraft and shipping vessels. But for people with disabilities/limited mobility, there is some provision under European Union (EU) law.

Travel by air

Under European law, if you are disabled, or have difficulty moving around, you can recieve assistance when you fly to and from Europe.

Travel by shipping vessels

Although not covered by the equality laws, passengers travelling by sea are protected from discrimination relating to timetables, booking facilities and other services at ports and ferry terminals by the Merchant Shipping (Passengers’ Rights) Regulations 2013. See the Equality and Human Rights Commission's article A ship called dignity for more information.

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 Carl Graham, solicitor and partner in UK law firm DWF LLP for reviewing this information.

Carl Graham has declared no conflict of interest.

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

  • Updated May 2016
    To be reviewed May 2019

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