Epilepsy is a neurological condition which affects approximately one in 200 people. Once symptoms are under control, those affected can continue as normal in their daily lives and their workplace activities should not be affected.

Legislation and reasonable adjustments

People with epilepsy are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and are entitled to claim discrimination if it occurs, provided they have previously disclosed their condition to their employer.

Under the DDA, an employer must not discriminate against a person with a disability in any of the following areas:

  • recruitment and retention
  • promotion and transfers
  • training and development 
  • redundancy and dismissal processes

The DDA requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees with epilepsy.  Examples of reasonable adjustments for those with epilepsy include:

  • setting a fixed shift pattern for people whose seizures are set off by varied work patterns or tiredness
  • providing a quiet place where a person can rest after a seizure 
  • providing a support driver or using public transport when the person cannot drive because of epilepsy

Under the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978, there may be some situations where there may be legitimate concerns about a person with epilepsy doing certain tasks.

Common seizure triggers

Common seizure triggers for epilepsy include the following:

  • missing medication
  • illness or high temperature
  • too much alcohol or a hangover
  • lack of sleep
  • stress, worry or anxiety
  • missing meals
  • dehydration

Additional information on epilepsy is available from the Epilepsy Action website at the following link:

Fitness to Drive

In respect of the driving regulations within the UK, people who have epilepsy can hold a valid driving licence providing the following conditions have been met:

  • they have been free for one year with Anti Epilepsy Drugs (AEDs)
  • they have had seizures only in sleep for 3 years
  • The DVLA is satisfied that they are not a danger to themselves on the road
  • all of their seizures types are those included in the Fitness to Drive guidance and they have been still conscious as a consequence; and
  • they have seizure warnings (i.e. “aura”) prior to having any partial seizures

More information on Fitness to Drive can be found at the following link:

First Aid

There are a number of issues to take into account when assisting someone with epilepsy (if they are having a seizure and are unconscious as a consequence):

From a First Aid perspective there are a numbers of Dos and Don'ts:

What to do

  • check the time to record the length of seizure
  • support their head with something (for example a pillow)
  • try not to feel frightened
  • turn the person onto their side into the recovery position when the seizure has ended 
  • speak reassuringly and tell the person what has happened

What not to do

  • do not try and move the person while they are having a seizure 
  • do not offer the person anything to drink until they are fully conscious


Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.