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Ian Brown

and Martin C. Prevett

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date: 18 November 2018

Epilepsy is a common condition that affects large numbers of working people. In about one-third, epilepsy is the only condition, and in others there are additional neurological, intellectual, or psychological problems. Uncontrolled epileptic seizures can lead to injury and may impact on education and employment, but antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment is effective in approximately 70 per cent of people with epilepsy. Many people do not disclose a history of epileptic seizures when applying for a job or during a routine examination at the workplace. This may cause major problems for the individual and the employer and, on occasions, inadvertently contravene the HSW Act or invalidate insurance cover. However, the disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010 now confer some protection on those with epilepsy. The unenlightened attitudes of some employers have led to secrecy or denial by those affected. The possibility of dangerous situations arising at work, or dismissal without recourse to appeal, may be the consequence. A competent occupational health service, trusted by both shop-floor and management, can be invaluable in resolving conflicts and giving advice. Responsibility for the employment and placement of a person with epilepsy rests with the employer and they should take appropriate medical advice. Each case must be judged on its merits in light of the available information, which must include a sound and complete understanding of the requirements of the job. Employees with epilepsy must be regularly reviewed. The development of good rapport and mutual trust will encourage employees to report any changes in their condition or treatment that have arisen.

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