Disclosing Epilepsy with a Potential Employer
It is not always necessary to discuss epilepsy with a potential employer, however. Whether you do or not is up to you. If you have excellent seizure control and the employer does not ask any health-related questions, there's no reason to start talking about epilepsy unless you want to. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers with more than 15 employees may not ask any health-related questions until after they have offered you the job.
The important thing is whether you are able to do the job as described. Employers are also required to make reasonable accommodation for a disability.
If you decide to talk about your epilepsy, or if you have to because of a legal question from the employer (after a job has been offered), remember that the more confident, well-informed, and relaxed you can be, the more reassured the employer is likely to be.
- Explain how long you've had epilepsy and how well it's controlled.
- If you drive, say so.
- Say how long you've been seizure-free. Explain that research studies show the longer people are free of seizures, the greater the likelihood they will stay that way.
- If you've never had a convulsive seizure in your life, mention that as well. Remember, the average person thinks everyone with epilepsy has convulsions all the time.
- If you have only occasional seizures, point that out, too. Explain that if one should occur it will only last a very short time.
- Always explain how this condition actually affects your ability to perform in a job. Remember, too, that studies show people who have acquired good job skills have a better chance of getting a job, whether or not they have epilepsy.