Your Legal Rights
Do you have a legal question? Are you wondering:
- Can my boss ask me about my epilepsy?
- What is a reasonable accommodation?
- How long do I have to be seizure-free before I get my driver's license back?
- Can I be arrested for seizure-related behavior?
We have prepared a series of fact sheets addressing the legal rights of persons with epilepsy, which include summaries of key federal disability rights laws. Individuals experiencing discrimination based on their epilepsy should consider using the appropriate fact sheet(s) as an advocacy tool. These factsheets can be used by employers, employees, educational professionals and others to help correct any misunderstanding about the rights of people with epilepsy.
Factsheets may be downloaded in PDF format.
Legal Rights, Legal Issues
This resource generally discusses a variety of legal issues on subjects relevant to people with epilepsy, including employment, driver licensing, education, insurance and the availability of federal disability benefits. See the fact sheets below for more detailed discussion of these and other issues.
ADA Amendments Act
Impact of ADAAA on Persons with Epilepsy (short summary)
Advocates’ Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations
Analysis of employers’ obligations under the ADA to make workplace adjustments to enable qualified workers with epilepsy to successfully perform their jobs (chapter from manual on employment discrimination being developed by Legal Defense Fund).
Guidance on filing a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigates allegations of employment discrimination, covered under the Americans with Disabilities (ADA), against persons with disabilities.
Information on the obligation of employers under the ADA to provide accommodations (such as modifying certain job duties) for employees and applicants with epilepsy.
Guidance on the right to take leave from work based on medical reasons under the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Guidance for merchant mariners who have been denied licenses or renewals based on a history of seizures.
Information on the rights of people with disabilities who are employed by federal agencies and on special procedures for filing complaints.
Medical Inquiries by Employers
Discusses restrictions imposed by the ADA regarding the use of medical examinations or inquiries.
Specialized information regarding jobs where safety is a primary concern such as firefighter, police officer, and construction worker.
Education and Day Care: Advocating for Your Child(PDF)
Parents of children with epilepsy may face a variety of barriers as they look for child care and appropriate educational services. This new resource addresses child care obligations under federal anti-discrimination law; issues with infants and toddlers; and a description of the laws within a school setting.
This manual provides detailed practical guidance to help parents and non-attorney advocates understand the rights of children in these areas—and to effectively advocate to secure those rights. Topics covered include the special education process for children with epilepsy, the obligation of schools and child care centers to administer medication and provide other accommodations and methods to resolve disputes. Lawyers will find this manual very useful in representing their clients.
Rights of Students K-12
Guidance regarding the accommodations and special education services to which elementary and high school students with epilepsy are entitled under federal law.
Information about the obligation of colleges and universities to provide equal opportunities to students with epilepsy.
Guidance on child custody rights for parents with epilepsy.
Discusses eligibility and application requirements for federal benefits programs, including Social Security Disability, Medicare and Medicaid.
Health Insurance: Where to Find Health Insurance and How to Pay for It
Guidance on access to employer-based health insurance and private insurance, along with information on Medicaid and Medicare. The guidance includes information on the benefits available under the Affordable Care Act.
Public Accommodations and Government Services
Guidance on the obligations of businesses and non-profits (including retail stores, child care providers and theatres) to serve persons with epilepsy in a non-discriminatory manner.
State and Local Government
Discusses protections against discrimination by government-run programs such as police, recreational programs and social service agencies.
Arrest for Seizure Related Behaviors
Information for those who have faced arrest or criminal charges due to seizure-related behavior (which is sometimes misinterpreted as aggression or voluntary “criminal” conduct).