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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Workplace rights factsheet for Americans with epilepsy launched

4 August, 2004

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) has released a new factsheet addressing the workplace rights of
people with epilepsy under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Title I of the ADA, which is enforced by the EEOC, protects qualified
individuals with disabilities from discrimination by private and state
and local government employers with 15 or more employees.

The Epilepsy Foundation
and other organisations point out that most people with epilepsy will
probably never have a seizure at work, and people with epilepsy do not
have more accidents on the job or raise an employer's insurance
premiums.

The EEOC's new fact sheet explains:

  • When epilepsy is a "disability" within the meaning of the ADA;
  • When employers may (and may not) ask applicants and employees about their epilepsy;
  • Reasonable accommodations that some people with epilepsy may need to work, most of which involve no cost; and
  • How employers should deal with safety concerns that they may have about employees with epilepsy.

This
publication is the second in a series of EEOC fact sheets focusing on
particular disabilities in the workplace. Last October, the Commission
released a fact sheet on the ADA and people with diabetes.

Commission Chair Cari M Dominguez commented:

"Epilepsy
does not hinder a person's ability to be a productive employee or
compromise safety in the workplace. Too often, however, individuals
with epilepsy are still denied job opportunities because of
misperceptions and fears about this condition. The EEOC's fact sheet
dispels some of these myths and answers frequently asked questions
about how people with epilepsy are covered by the Americans with
Disabilities Act."