Back Epilepsy and work

Epilepsy can affect people at any age.  When you are dealing with epilepsy in the workplace, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges you might face. 

Below are some tips for successfully managing your epilepsy at work.

  • While your seizures may make your job hunt challenging, they shouldn’t make it impossible. While considering jobs to apply for:
    • Make sure that you have the qualifications required for the job.
    • Consider whether or not you’ll need a driver’s license on the job, or for getting to work. Also, if you want to avoid a job that may put you in hazardous situations, you might consider finding a job that allows you to work from home.
  • You should consider how you will discuss your epilepsy with a potential employer, in order to explain any impact your epilepsy may have on your work. If your seizures are controlled, you can choose whether or not to discuss your epilepsy with an employer. Should you choose to discuss your epilepsy, or if you are required to do so as a result of a legal question from an employer, you can think about discussing:
    • How long epilepsy has been a part of your life, and how controlled your seizures are. If you’re seizure free, or only affected by seizures occaisonally, let them know.
    • Whether or not you’re able to drive
    • The type of seizures you have, and whether or not you’ve ever experienced a convulsive seizure
    • The impact that your epilepsy might have on your job performance. Keep in mind that overall, there is no difference in productivity or job performance between workers with epilepsy and those without.
  • If you are working in the presence of customers or clients who may be unaware of your condition, there should always be someone around that can follow the appropriate first aid measure needed to assist you. They should also be able to explain calmly what is happening to any bystanders that may have witnessed your seizure.
  • In most cases, your employer must make every reasonable effort to accommodate your condition by adjusting your duties or work conditions to meet the constraints of your disability. You can access the Canadian Human Rights Act for more information regarding this.
  • Like all other employees, you will be covered by your Provincial Workplace Health and Safety Organization. Liability should not be an issue that affects your employer.
  • If you feel like you’ve experienced discrimination or harrassment in the workplace because of your epilepsy, you have a legal right to place a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
  • You can read more about your rights and epilepsy in the workplace here: http://www.canadianepilepsyalliance.org/about-epilepsy/living-with-epilepsy/employment

To learn more about epilepsy in the workplace, you can download the following E-Action® Magazine features:

Video: Stephen