Disclosure of epilepsy can be a difficult issue for many people to face. For some their is a real fear of discrimination. While a person is not obliged to disclose the condition unless they are directly asked (this can only be done as part of a medical examination), it is important that people with epilepsy ensure that they do not place themselves or work colleagues at risk. When disclosing it is important to present the facts in a clear concise manner and be well prepared to deal with any questions that may be asked.
Many people with epilepsy ask how they should deal with the issue of disclosing their epilepsy in a work situation. The following gives some ideas on the subject. See also the comprehensive resources (including videos and a smartphone App) in the How 2 Tell section. These resources were developed by Trinity College Dublin as part of an Epilepsy Ireland funded research project on epilepsy disclosure.
WHEN: On the application form
- In the medical section you could tick the box marked epilepsy
- You could enclose a letter from your doctor stressing your ability to do the job
- You could write a short explanation of your current situation regarding your epilepsy
- You may experience peace of mind because the employer knows about your epilepsy and you would not have to broach the subject for the first time
- There is potential for discrimination. You may not be called for interview if an employer has misconceptions or lack of knowledge about the condition
WHEN: At the interview (1st or 2nd)
- At the beginning
- At an appropriate time during the interview
- Before the interview is completed
- You would have the opportunity to stress your abilities face to face with an employer and would be in a position to answer any questions about your epilepsy in an appropriate way.
- Some people feel that the prospect of having to declare their epilepsy in this way would be so stressful it may affect their performance in an interview
WHEN: Once the job has been offered
- This could lead to distrust with the employer if they feel that you were not honest with them in the beginning. They may fear the epilepsy as something to be hidden