Epilepsy and employment

Epilepsy can affect employment for a variety of reasons. Many employers are reluctant to hire a person they know epilepsy, even if the seizures are controlled by medication. If the employee suffers a seizure while at work, they could harm themselves (depending on the nature of the work). Employees are often unwilling to bear any financial costs that may come from employing a person with epilepsy, ie insurance costs, paid sick leave etc. Many people who are seizures are successfully controlled by a medication suffer from a variety of side effects, most notably drowsiness , which may affect job performance . Many laws prohibit or restrict people with epilepsy from performing certain duties, Most notably driving or operating dangerous machinery, which lowering the pool of jobs available to people with epilepsy. Epilepsy sufferers are also prohibited from joining the armed forces, though they may work in certain civilian military positions.

Employment issues are responsible for 85% of the cost of epilepsy on society. [1] In the United States , the median income for persons with epilepsy is 93% that of all persons. The unemployment rate for persons with epilepsy was 25% and 69%. The high school graduation rate was 64%, compared with an overall national average of 82%. [2]


The following issues exist for people with epilepsy in their quest for and performance of employment:

Barring from employment

People with epilepsy may be barred from various types of employment, either by law, by company regulations, or by common sense, and lowering the pool of jobs available to the job seeker. [3]

Those barred from driving by the laws of the land in which they reside can not perform any jobs that involve operating a motor vehicle. Even if the patients are permitted by law to drive their own vehicle, they may be barred by local and national laws from driving a vehicle for the purpose of certain types of employment. The engineer of a train (even if a person has a seizure in a certain time period is not permanently banned, they may still have to be able to stay seizure-free for a year or more even without medication). [4]

Most of the time, the airplane is in the air, and the airplane is in the air. Unlikely (again, some people who have been seizure-free without medication for a considerable time period, usually at least a year, are allowed to fly-even jets- Without using anticonvulsant drugs). [4]

Jobs in the workplace, including construction and industrial work. [4]

Many places have laws barring those with epilepsy whose seizures are not entirely controlled from working in positions that involve a high degree of responsibility to the well-being of others. This includes police officers , teachers , and health care workers. [4]

Occupational hazards

There are many hazards that people with epilepsy, including those whose seizures are fully controlled by medication, face in the workplace. Those with active seizures face the obvious risk of loss of consciousness or muscle control, and those with side effects diminished concentration or physical strength. Some of the hazards include: [5]

  • Working near a body of water, a high-voltage power line, or at extreme heights
  • Working with machines, equipment, or hazardous chemicals or materials that require care in their
  • The supervision of other persons, where any lapse in such supervision may be hazardous


Even if a person with epilepsy is able to safely perform job duties he / herself, many are limited to where they can not provide their own transportation to the job site. Since some can not drive themselves to work, they can. [6] [7]

Some people with epilepsy who can not drive may also be unable to safely walk, use public transportation , or otherwise independently travel safely due to their seizure risk, further preventing them from reaching a place of employment. Such persons may be at risk for suffering seizures while on or off the street. [1]


Stigma alone can make it more difficult for people with epilepsy to find jobs. Even if one’s seizures are fully controlled by medication, or if the condition has been completely cured by surgery, many employers are reluctant to hire a person with epilepsy. [8]

United States of America. If an applicant voluntarily reveals one’s condition, the employer may, if so, what types. [9]

If an employed learns of an epileptic provided after- making has decision to hire an employee, the use is not Legally permitted to Withdraw the decision to hire as a result of this information UNLESS the employee’s duties will pose a risk to public safety. If this is the case, the employer is permitted to require the employee to obtain information from a physician regarding this.

Federal law in the United States requires that federal government agencies and employers receive federal funding in the event of a seizure disorder. [10]

Special accommodations

Employees who have epilepsy may require special accommodations from their employers. Although against the law, some employers may feel reluctant to provide these accommodations. Some special needs include: [11]


  • Safety shields around pieces of equipment (which should be considered standard for all workers)
  • Carpeting on concrete or other hard floors


  • Extra breaks for one who is often drowsy or fatigued as a result of one’s condition
  • Extended breaks following a seizure, should one occur
  • Days off from work in the event

Seizures while on duty

According to the law of the United States , an employee is permitted to inquire into an employee’s epileptic condition if the employee suffers one or more seizures while on duty only if they affect safety or job performance. [9]

The Employer shall be entitled to take the leave of absence or reassign the employee until the issues are resolved.

Epilepsy as a disability

Depending on the severity, epilepsy can be considered a disability which makes it very difficult or even impossible for many sufferers for a variety of reasons. Those with seizures that can not be controlled by the seizures. The aftermath of an often unpredictable seizure may leave a patient too fatigued to work for a period of time, or may temporarily impair the patient’s memory. Seizures may pose a hazard to the employee or others in the event the employee loses consciousness while performing certain duties. Even if the seizures are completely controlled by a medication, side effects, such as drowsiness or fatigue, may make the performance of duties impossible or more difficult.

In the United States , when the Americans with Disabilities Act is not fully protected from discrimination in hiring practices, the Social Security Administration considers people with epilepsy “disabled” and Major life activities. [12] Employment may be hard to find or perform for many people with epilepsy, but not all eligible for government-sponsored disability payments.

To qualify, documentation to the Social Security Administration of an EEG detailing a typical seizure is required, although a normal diagnosis does not rule out benefits. A seizure diary, including times and dates of seizures, and the effects the seizures have had is required. A person may qualify either if the seizures themselves have debilitating effects, or if the drugs used to treat the disorder have side effects that make impossible or difficult. [13]

Armed forces

Many countries restrict people with epilepsy from joining their armed forces .

In the United States, in order to enroll in a military role, one must be seizure-free since age 5 and off all medications. [14]

In the United Kingdom people with epilepsy are automatically barred for life from joining the military.

See also

  • Epilepsy and driving


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Epilepsy A to Z: A Concise Encyclopedia By William O. Tatum, Peter W. Kaplan, Pierre Jallon: page 112
  2. Jump up^ The treatment of epilepsy: principles & practice By Elaine Wyllie, Ajay Gupta, Deepak K. Lachhwani: page 1203
  3. Jump up^ Managing Epilepsy: A Clinical Handbook By Malcolm P. Taylor: page 114-15
  4. ^ Jump up to:d Living Well with Epilepsy By Robert J. Gumnit: page 174
  5. Jump up^ Epilepsy A to Z: A Concise Encyclopedia By William O. Tatum, Peter W. Kaplan, Pierre Jallon: page 113
  6. Jump up^ Living Well with Epilepsy By Robert J. Gumnit: page 183
  7. Jump up^ Women with epilepsy: a handbook of health and treatment issues By Martha J. Morrell, Kerry L. Flynn: page 282
  8. Jump up^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: page 45
  9. ^ Jump up to:b http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/epilepsy.html
  10. Jump up^ Living Well with Epilepsy By Robert J. Gumnit: page 218
  11. Jump up^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: page 287
  12. Jump up^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: pg 283
  13. Jump up^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: page 308
  14. Jump up^ Living Well with Epilepsy By Robert J. Gumnit: pages 173-74

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