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What can I do if I've been discriminated against because of my epilepsy?

This information about the Disability Discrimination Act applies to people in Northern Ireland. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales see our information about your rights in England, Scotland and Wales.

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

If you feel you've been discriminated against because of your epilepsy, you could take one or more of the following steps:

  • Get advice
  • Talk to the people concerned
  • Make a formal complaint
  • Take legal action

Get advice

You may want advice to help you decide if you've been discriminated against and what to do next. The Epilepsy Action Helpline can help by talking to you about your rights, and helping you to think about your next steps. You could also contact one of the organisations at the bottom of this page for specialist discrimination, legal or employment advice.

Talk to the people concerned

You could talk to the people concerned, for example, the employer or service provider. Explain to them why you think you've been discriminated against, and how you would like them to resolve the situation.

It's a good idea to 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 legal action. If the discrimination is taking place at work and you're a member of a union, you could ask them to support you when you are talking to your employer.

Make a formal complaint

If talking informally to the people involved doesn't solve the problem, you could make a formal complaint. Most employers and service providers will have a formal complaints procedure explaining how to make a complaint and who to complain to. At work, this is usually called a grievance procedure.

Take legal action

If you feel an employer or service provider has discriminated against you, you may be able to take legal action against them, but you need to act quickly. In most employment cases, you need to lodge your claim to an industrial tribunal within 3 months of when the discrimination happened. For other discrimination claims (for example complaining about a service provider) you need to make a claim to a county court within 6 months.

Be aware that taking legal action can be expensive. However, depending on your financial circumstances and the issues involved, you may be eligible for legal aid to cover some or all of the costs.

Find out more about legal aid in Northern Ireland.

Sources of specialist advice and support

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Provides advice and assistance to people who feel they have been discriminated against.
Tel: 028 90 500 600
Website: equalityni.org

The Law Society of Northern Ireland Solicitor Directory
Searchable directory of solicitors in Northern Ireland.
Tel: 028 9023 1614
Website: lawsoc-ni.org/solicitors

The Labour Relations Agency
Provides advice on your rights at work. They can also help resolve disputes through their conciliation, mediation and arbitration services.
Tel: 03300 552 220
Website: lra.org.uk

 

See this information with references.

Code: 
F101B.01
Event Date: 
Monday 11 November 2019

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Ciaran Trainor from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for his contribution to this information.

Ciaran Trainor has declared no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.

  • Updated November 2019
    To be reviewed November 2022

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