Strategies

Epilepsy and Employment Disclosure Chart

ON A JOB APPLICATION

Advantages:

  • Honesty. Peace of mind.
  • Easy. Allows employer to decide if epilepsy is an issue.

Disadvantages:

  • Might disqualify you with no opportunity to present yourself and your qualifications and no recourse.
  • Potential for discrimination.

Issues:

  • If you use this technique, you may have a harder time finding work, but usually have no epilepsy-related problems when you do.

DURING AN INTERVIEW

Advantages:

  • Honesty. Peace of mind.
  • Opportunity to respond briefly and positively – in person – to specific epilepsy issues.
  • Discrimination less likely face-to-face.

Disadvantages:

  • Puts responsibility on you to handle epilepsy issues in a clear, non-threatening way.
  • Too much emphasis on issue indicates possible problem. You are not being evaluated on your abilities.

Issues:

  • How comfortable are you with discussing your epilepsy? Are you too preoccupied with epilepsy? These are very difficult questions, but ones that you can prepare to answer.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW (When you have been offered a job but before you begin work.)

Advantages:

  • Honesty. Peace of mind.
  • If the epilepsy information changes the hiring decision, and you are sure that your seizures will not interfere with your ability to perform the job, there may be legal recourse.

Disadvantages:

  • Employer might feel you should have told him before hiring decision was made.
  • Might lead to distrust with personnel department.

Issues:

  • Need to evaluate seizure condition honestly in light of the specific tasks of the job you are applying for.
  • Need to be able to explain how epilepsy will not interfere with ability to perform job. This includes job safety.

AFTER YOU START WORK

Advantages:

  • Opportunity to prove yourself on the job before disclosure.
  • Allows you to respond to epilepsy questions with peers at work.
  • If disclosure affects employment status and the condition doesn’t affect ability to perform job or job safety, you may be protected by law.

Disadvantages:

  • Nervousness or fear of having a seizure on the job.
  • Possible employer accusation of falsifying your application.
  • Possibility of a seizure before co-workers know how to react.
  • Could change interaction with peers.

Issues:

  • The longer you put off disclosing, the harder it becomes.
  • It may be difficult to identify who to tell.

AFTER A SEIZURE ON THE JOB

Advantages:

  • Opportunity to prove yourself on job before disclosure.
  • If seizure affects employment status but the seizures do not affect your ability to perform your job or job safety, you may be protected by law.

Disadvantages:

  • Possible employer accusation of falsifying your application.
  • Possibility that your co-workers will not have known how to react to your seizure.
  • Can perpetuate epilepsy myths and misunderstandings.

Issues:

  • Relationships you establish with co-workers may be hurt if they feel you have been untruthful with them. It may be difficult to re-establish trust.

NEVER

Advantages:

  • Employer can’t react to your epilepsy unless you have a seizure

Disadvantages:

  • If epilepsy is discovered, you run the risk of being fired.
  • Nervousness and fear of having a seizure on the job. If you have a seizure, might be hurt by inappropriate first aid.
  • Studies show that people who don’t disclose have higher incidence of seizures on the job.
  • Can perpetuate epilepsy myths and misunderstandings.

Issues:

  • If you haven’t had a seizure for a long time (over two years) the issues of disclosure become less critical.

 

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