Information for Employers

Employer Concerns: 4. Jobs People with Epilepsy Can/Cannot Perform.

23 February 2009
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People with epilepsy can perform the vast majority of jobs; e.g. they can operate machinery, drive cars and use visual display units and computers. Their job performance depends on their own innate ability and is independent of their condition.

There are some restrictions e.g. a person with epilepsy cannot drive a heavy goods vehicle, train or bus or become a pilot.

Operating VDUs:

Unnecessary limitations should not be placed on people with epilepsy in working with VDUs. Only a small proportion of all people with epilepsy (estimated at 3-5%) have photosensitive epilepsy: that is they are sensitive to flashing or flickering lights. It's most common in children, usually occurring between 6 and 15 years of age. Therefore, most people of working age will not be predisposed to photosensitivity.

People who have photosensitive epilepsy can use computers with safety precautions e.g frequent breaks, screens, lenses etc.

The small minority of people whose seizures are not completely controlled may have problems working with young children or near open water or at heights. However, it is important to emphasise that blanket restrictions should be avoided.


Most countries adhere to the Recommended European Principles (1996) with regard to driving. In general, people with epilepsy need to be seizure free for up to one year to drive Group One vehicles (private cars and motors). With regard to Group Two licences (i.e. heavy goods vehicles, buses etc.), on experiencing their first seizure, the person is subject to an unconditional driving ban. However there are exceptions to these prohibitions.

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