How do you handle being put down or judged by "your boss who is10 years younger than you" when you try to discuss appointments or missing days after having a seizure? I have been at my job for awhile now and have the total support of the owner of my company, for which I am forever grateful, but what do I do when a new group of kids are hired who seem threatened with either me or my epilepsy? I have been told by the owner that they are trying to get me fired but I have no idea why they are doing this. Has anyone else with epilepsy come across this prejudice and, if so, what do you do?
The following user gives a hug of support to jeralee4: m slater (10-10-2011)
I would contact your local epilepsy group for your town, city, etc, and see if you can get some support from them in dealing with this situation. Most have support groups.
I even got a copy of a book titled 'Epilepsy and the Law' for the province (Canada) that I live in. It had a whole section on a person's rights with epilepsy and their employer.
For now, I would just stand tall, don't back down or they will keep walking all over you. You don't deserve that. You have every right to be there.
Your employer may consider having someone from your local epilepsy group come and give a talk to the employees about epilepsy to educate those who are ignorant and don't know what epilepsy is or what it is like to have epilepsy.
Siezures exhaust the brain and body. You need a full day's rest to recup. Look into employment laws and disorders/disabilities...they can't discriminate.
Why do they need to know? I'm just asking, not judging you for telling them. Nobody where I work knows I have epilepsy. And I wouldn't think you would be required to inform your boss about personal medical conditions. Unless you have a lot of seizures and will be missing more days than people without Epilepsy do. I don't see why your coworkers would have to know, though.
Maybe I'm too private. I got really mad when my mom went and told my whole extended family and her best friends that I had Epilepsy back when I got diagnosed with it in college. I didn't even tell my best friend. She found out when my mom mentioned something about it to me while my friend was over, about a month after I was diagnosed.
I think you would only be required to let your employer know if your epilepsy and the type of seizures you have could put you at risk of injury depending on the job and requirements. If something did happen and you were injured, your employer would not be liable for injuries if you had not told them beforehand.
BUT, you have told them. So again I suggest you do what I had suggested in my previous post.
Myself, I am very OPEN about my epilepsy. I don't go out of my way to hide it...and everyone that knows me (or just about) knows that I have it. I want people to be educated and informed. I want there to be more 'awareness' about epilepsy and what it means to have epilespy. Otherwise, there will always be a 'stigma' attached to having epilepsy.
More awareness, more support, more research, more $$ for better meds, and mabye one day a cure. That is my hope.
You should be protected under the ADA-as long as you are able to perform the functions of your job, then they have no LEGAL leg to stand on! I have been down that road before where my boss tried to fire me; I hired an attorney and kept my job. I now work with a very supportive boss, some of my fellow employees aren't quite as supportive, but I still speak out about my seizures because I want to educate my co-workers.
I do have one co-worker who asks "Why did you come to work today?" when I'm having seizures at work - and I just let her know I was fine that morning - so I came. If you need help for time off with FMLA - go through that route as well to cover yourself, and get your Dr.'s note to help. Best of luck to you!
Thank you for your supportive responses. I think everyone at my work knows of my epilepsy because I had my first, and almost all of my seizures, while at work. Repetitive noises, stress and flashing lights are all triggers for me and, unfortunately, they all happen at my work. I did not have epilepsy until I started this job. My Neurologist thinks it is the stress of the job combined with the constant beeping of forklifts, printers, etc. that caused me to have adult onset epilepsy but I really don't care to look at what caused it. My main concern is to how to get more people to acknowledge that people with epilepsy are normal and to educate people that although someone may have epilepsy we are not demonic or posessed just because we have seizures!! I wish there was a place we could all literally meet and come together to show how very normal we are and that although we may have epilepsy, we are NOT stupid, evil, demons!! I want to change the stigma attached to epilepsy but it frustrates me so much that I just want to punch all of the ignorant people that treat us this way!!! I am a very intelligent computer programmer that can use my brain to make your system work, I just have problems periodically due to my epilepsy. That does not make me worth less than the other programmers you may hire that take time off for maternity leave, depression, family matters, or those that quit just to move up in the programming world. To all the employers out there, take a chance on someone with epilepsy! I guarantee that most of us just want a job that acknowledges us no matter who or what we are. You will not regret your decision and you will probably have one of the best employees you will ever hire!