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Epilepsy and work / adjustments

hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
edited June 30 in Employment and careers
Hiya I’m quite new to this, so please bear with me.  My ex partner has suffered with epilepsy for over 25 years, largely controlled with medication, has one or two absent seizures in work a month, 3-5 minutes recovery’s, momentary loss of concentration, I call them lights are in but nobody at home, no offence to anybody 8 in total over 12 months.   he is a security guard And has been doing the job for over  15 years,  lately has had some decision making that makes him suspicious, company told lies to get him seen again my occupational health, only seen last year, declared him fit for all duties apart from traffic health snd safety risks. Employer now saying he can only do 10 % of job role.  Lone working was removed but don’t know when and by whom, and lone patrols taken 2 months after occupational report that said ok, this was because of frequency of seizures that year, when records have been checked 3 in 8 months.   Have contacted the union not helping, already had access to work for taxi waiting on recall for another assessment with a view to job aide or support worker, not sure if he will qualify and if his employer will allow it.  When he isn’t having an absent seizure he is able to carry out everything, no set routine or warning of seizures, he is reliant on other people telling him he has had one,  I know about reasonable adjustments and the equality law, but don’t know in practice what is allowed and what is not allowed, I know they have a duty of care to him, but he also wants and needs to be in work as he has a young family, he is currently stood down and has been for 5 weeks awaiting for a occupational health assessment he is on full pay but is worried about the future , he is waiting for acas to call him, and access to work,  I have read about vocational rehabilitation assessments and I wondered if anyone had any knowledge of them and if they found them helpful.  Thanks and sorry for the lost post 
any information would be gratefully received 

Replies

  • steve51steve51 Community champion Posts: 6,971 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @hells123

    Good Afternoon & Welcome to our Community/Family.

    I am one of the Community Champion’s here at Scope.

    Please please let me know if there’s anything that I can help you with?????

    @steve51
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Thank you,  are you able to offer any assistance 
  • steve51steve51 Community champion Posts: 6,971 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @hells123

    Yes I will be very very happy in helping/assisting you if that will help.

    @steve51

  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @hells123 Welcome to the community, I have a degree in Human Resources and practised for 25 years.

    From what you have said there isn't really anything else you can do but wait for the report and ACAS is a good place to go for advice.

    My knowledge of the vocational rehab assessments are for employees who have been off work for a considerable amount of time and the assessment is to determine a programme to assist them in getting back to work. 
    So this wouldn't be appropriate for what you are looking for.

    I would advise getting a copy of his job profile to look at exactly what it consists of and what he can and cant do. The company do have a duty of care for both his safety and making any reasonable adjustments that are appropriate.
    They only have to make any adjustments that are practical which can include things like lighter duties, reduced hours, working in another role/environment, equipment and aids etc

    I would wait till his OH report comes through and see what has been recommended he may be panicking for no reason

    If I can be any further assistance just shout 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    Are restrictions the same as adjustments


  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    He has 52 duties, when not having a seizure he can do all of them and has been for over 12 years, 18 years in the industry itself,  they themselves removed lone working, not sure when, and why, lone patrols were removed due to frequency last year but no evidence to justify this at the time, and the traffic is a restriction not an adjustment as per his report dated june last year, which cleared him fit for all duties except traffic. 

    he has been stood down over 5 weeks ago, and as yet needs to wait for his occupational health assessment, can an employer lie in order to make a referral to an occupational health service and as a result of this lie then abandon the previous restrictions

  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    They can be considered as adjustment if a task is restricted due to disability then an adjustment to role can be made to take this into account 
    I'm not sure of exact law now on % but companies i worked for wanted employees to be able to complete 75% of role but if it was less would consider if practical but nothing below 50% 
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    They can request Oh referral at anytime usually with employees consent and they need written consent to access medical records.
    As for the lie I would forget that unless concrete evidence 
    OH are not all bad there objective is to aid people staying in work 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    so his traffic restriction  that he has since last june is a adjustment due to his disability, this is one duty out of 52 others,  the company have said that due to covid 19 his duties are none that he can do alone even though his occupational health advisor in june 2019 declared him fit for duty, they say he can only do gatehouse duties, and speedgun when accompanied,, the speedgun is always double crewed with or without a person having epileptic,  they have specifically highlighted three areas of his job role on the referral and want an opinon as to whether he can do them.  these are

    The exact wording they have used is a number of adjustments were recommended  when there was only 1 by the occupational health person, Richard has epilepsy which can have an impact on his ability to work espcically when he has a seizure and has precluded him from working alone at any point.  We are concerned that Richard cannot perform his duties safely on his own and can only perform a small number of specific duties when accompanied

    Over time the number of responsibilities normally required for the role have been taken away from Richard in order to protect his wellbeing including performing patrols and all traffic duties,  this has put a strain on the team on site as they are required to pic up the work that Richard understandably isn't able to carry out.  This has recently become a major issue as the workload has changed as a result of the covid 19 pandemic.  Social distancing and number of procedure changes require a very different service so some aspects of he role like booking in deliveries has reduced sustaniatlly, currently Richard books in deliveries and uses the speed gun onsite accoanied with another individual only this is putting a strain on the workload requested by the client.  This currently comprises of roughly 10% of his total job requirement for an officer on site. The changes put in place by the client are not going to be relaxed after the pandemic eases. 


    Can Richard work alone, perform patrols, and check passess on traffic duty near moving vehicles, these duties require high levels of concentration and integrity


    attendting and marshalling the responding emergency services rendezvous point is an intergral part of the role can he peform this function or can he be left alone


  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    yes he has concrete evidence in the form of 4 telephone conversations with 4 of his colleagues that undertook shift changes in march due to covid 19, the reason the boss told the union rep for the referral was because these shifts had now been changed permantely moving forward and that all previous adjustments prior to march have now had to be abandoned.  Believing his has missed the memo or the letter or was not present in the discussions the date they got changed, he asked his coleagues,, 2 of the calls are recorded and all employees have said no such changes have been made, and they have not had any meetings with management or had it confirmed to them verbally or in writing that the shifts have changed from temporary to permanent, we had hoped that the union would of supplied an exact date when they got changed, but the union was just happy to believe his boss and did not ask for proof.  Richard was stood down send a letter he didn't understand on 13th may, got a response from the union on 28 may and rang his colleagues up on 16th June.


    what is confusing is given their concerns that they have in stated in the referral they had every opportunity to refer Richard between june and March if they believed his condition was any worse, but the evidence of his recorded seizures that they record, does not evidence this.


  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    Richard has no issues in regards to occupation health he is more than happy to see them, if there is a genuine reason for it, but he considers this time it is being overused or has been requested on the basis of a lie and but for the lie then the adjustments would not of been abandoned, in effect the lie is a cover up and a fabrication in which to source a referral to occupational health,

    If he was to obtain a job aid/support worker from access to work that could assist him due to the duties he cant do when having a seizure would this be covered as a reasonable adjustment or restriction

  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    his absent seizures last 3-5 minutes were by he has a loss in concentration, I call them the lights are on but nobody is at home, when he has them, when they end, he is able to go back to what he was doing before hand with no effects afterwards. in the period between January and august 2019 they have recorded 3 absent seizures, and since January this year and up to may they had recorded 2 absent seizures, so we are not talking major fits numerous times in the day, week or months, he is lucky if it averages one a month, this remains unchanged frequency from his report dated 2016.  His medication is as good as it gets, there are only 3 other drugs left to try on the market, Richard falls into that category that they will never be fully able to control his fits, they did look at a surgical option, but were unable to identify which part of the brain it was coming from, so its as good as it is going to get for him


  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi again 

    There is a lot of info here to digest I will look at it tomorrow as I am blind in one eye and can only look at screen couple hours a day 

    I will respond tomorrow 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    he has put in a grievance to have the issues over the referall and their decision making looked into but has received a response that its their referral and the information stays, and not addressed the issues with him, and has asked if the shift patterns have only changed just for him and not for anybody else, which is the only other explanation.  but 10 employees were changed over to a multi shift position, but he recently found out that he wasn't offered that position due to restrictions, and we are looking at the financial loss in this, and whether it would be considerd discrimitive or was it a duty of care towards Richard, as Richard has no restrictions on him at any time stopping him from doing nights or a specific shift in particular


  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener

    ah many thanks there is quite a lot going on to be honest in all fairness, he has never had any issues in 9 years, oh and he has been advised from an ex boss that he was on a hit list for them to get rid of him, and his boss was asked to sack him but refused on the grounds that he needed support and encouragement and not sacking, he himself ended up being sacked though,  he has this proof in a word for word conversation



  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    thank you for your help and assistance in this matter
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi again

    Finally read all your info and this is my view

    All companies have had to complete a covid risk assessment before letting them open again so this could have prompted the referral, and as they are having to work to different guidelines this is why they may think Richard needed an assessment and would be a valid reason. I agree this may not be the case and this could just be an excuse but they would defend that was done as a duty of care towards him. 

    All companies are having to reduce costs to recover from the situation and yes this may be the case that it feels like to Richard they are trying to get rid of him.

    I can understand him feeling this way but in their defence they have supported him in his role for a long time so why suddenly does he feel they are trying to get rid. (I am only playing devils advocate here and stating what they will say in their defence)

    As for discrimination you would have to show that he has been treated differently to all the others based on his disability and this isn't because of a duty of care.

    As for the medical side and the number of seizures he has etc  and that this hasn't changed again they may think due to new working conditions they need to be clear this wont affect him adversely.


    I am only trying to point out to you how they may argue their side I am not saying it is right and they may be using this as an excuse to get rid but I am afraid it is only them that could know that.

    I would suggest you continue to try and get in touch with ACAS, but at this stage there isn't really anything else he can do until the report comes back and the outcomes have been discussed (he may be worrying over nothing)

    Once the report is complete this should be discussed with him and recommendations made on ways of working going forward and any adjustments needed and if they are practical.

    He should ask for his union to be present any meetings and he should be consulted at all stages.

    He could also take the grievance you say has been ignored to the next level if he feels it hasn't been dealt with accordingly

    I wish him well and hooe this all works out in his favour
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    I wold also like to add that it is recognised that night shifts are not always suited to epileptics due to sleep pattern can affect the condition. It doesn't mean they cant do them but a lot of OH recommend they are not suitable
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Thank you for the advice, he Union have now recognised he may have case for discrimination and is sending it to the solicitors, 

    richards company never closed due to covid, in fact he got a certificate to say he was an essential worker.  He has been working on the new shifts for over 10 weeks, the reason they have given for the referral is down to the shifts pattern changing permantly but this is not the case, they didn’t indicate it was a decision that was taken out of a duty of care there has never been an occupational health report that has said Richard is unable to do night shifts due to his epilepsy .

    thank you for your help.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    Your welcome hope it all works out good 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Can I ask about access to work support If that is given would this be considered a reasonable adjustment to an employer.  We have asked for an assessment for a support worker/job aid to be funded so that Richard could be supported to undertake the roles that his employer are now saying he can’t do, as in the event Richard was to have a seizure there would be a 5-10 minute period where he could not do the task and the other person job aid could complete this and once Richard is recovered he could go back to normal duty.   Do you have any experience of this support as Richard only receives taxis paid for under access to work and nothing else 
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi I have only experienced access to work funding taxi and equipment and workplace adjustments like ramps etc

    Never come a cross support worker that doesn't mean it doesn't exist but I dont know if they would fund full time support worker for limited amount of seizures he has and short recovery time 

    It is worth exploring and yes access to work is considered reasonable adjustment 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Yes thanks I was unaware of this as well, but I have located some guidelines that the staff making the adjustments use, their is funding up to £59,000 that can be used, given that Richard is causing his colleagues to pick up a lot of his work, the funding would allow them to pay for another  Full time guard at £21,000 to support Richard When he has a seizure.  And can’t do his job, they would have to fund it full time as Richards epilepsy is the type that has no set pattern and can happen at any time 
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 2,110 Disability Gamechanger
    I would give it a try there is nothing to lose and may be a solution for Richard 

    Will you let me know how it goes for my reference too 

    If you want to talk to me privately you can post on my wall or if you want to tag me just put @janer1967
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Ok thanks will do the current wait is 4-5 weeks, but Richard hasn’t received his occup health appt yet in any case 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 4,677 Disability Gamechanger
    I must say I’m surprised the thread has got this far without anyone saying that it should be obvious why they have removed lone working for someone with epilepsy. You’ll do well to find any responsible UK employer who would allow it. The frequency of episodes is nothing to the point. The issue is two fold.

    1 - to be very blunt, why would you employ a security guard who has absences sufficiently long that damage could be done to your business? 

    2 - employers have to look at the balance of risks. If he has an episode and they have nothing in place to ensure he’s safe then if anything happened they would be leaving themselves wide open liability wise. 

    3 - employers need to have a lone worker policy and that is bound to include ensuring that some staff never work alone. Is that discrimination or is it a sensible balanced approach to risk for all concerned. 

    4 - as episodes can’t be controlled or reduced to zero then the reality is that past episodes can’t really be held to be a predictor of the frequency or type of future episodes. In those circumstances most employers would err on the cautious side.

    5 - it’s generally accepted that reasonable adjustments should be reviewed regularly e.g. annually. OHU referrals can feel intrusive but where a company has no clue what they’re dealing with it’s better they’re guided by some medical expertise than none.
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 1,101 Pioneering
    I also have seizures both full blown ones (as i call them) and absences, there are many types of epilepsy and the brain is something we know little about, but I have to agree with Mike, personally I have around 3 full blown seizures a week and half a dozen absences a day, and I know I could never work, it seems unfair to your husband BUT an employer in this day and age has many things to consider.
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Firstly his occupational health assessment cleared him fit for all duties in June 2019, with the exception of traffic, there has to be evidence and justification that justifies a sensible approach to risk. 

    Richard is able to carry out his duties and has been for over 18 years,  hiring an epileptic person such as Richard does not damage the business, it just means when he has an absent seizure he requires help and assistance at this time for no more than 10 minutes 

    The reasons for the referral are false and incorrect and as they are applying rules just for him and none of his colleagues then this is direct discrimination, if you are going to say the shifts have changed going forward this would apply to all staff and not just a staff member who has epilepsy.
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    woodbine said:
    I also have seizures both full blown ones (as i call them) and absences, there are many types of epilepsy and the brain is something we know little about, but I have to agree with Mike, personally I have around 3 full blown seizures a week and half a dozen absences a day, and I know I could never work, it seems unfair to your husband BUT an employer in this day and age has many things to consider.

  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Yes I understand that., no disrespect but that seems a lot of fits in one week alone,   Richard can go for many weeks  without having an absent seizure ,  just because a person has epilepsy does not automatically exempt them from working     There are different types and degrees  

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 4,677 Disability Gamechanger
    I think you’re missing a number of points.

    1 - nobody says that hiring him damages the business. What damages the business is if he has an episode, for example, and property is stolen or staff assaulted during that absence. What if property is stolen from him during an absence e.g. his wallet or office keys? It’s foreseeable risk and one any employer would be required to guard against else they’d struggle to get insurance.

    2 - he may be for for all duties but that’s not the same as saying it’s sensible for him to work alone. It’s not.

    3 - it’s okay saying he “just” needs assistance for a short period. Where does that come from? Who plans it? Can it be guaranteed. It’s a great theory but again it’s entirely foreseeable that the one time he needs assistance there’s no-one around. 

    4 - the reasoning behind a referral to occupational health is neither here nor there unless you know the outcome is detrimental to him and at this point you don’t know that. See point 5 of my previous post. He ought to welcome a regular discussion on what is and isn’t working. It’s absolutely the wrong thing to be arguing over.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 4,677 Disability Gamechanger
    hells123 said:
    Yes I understand that., no disrespect but that seems a lot of fits in one week alone,   Richard can go for many weeks  without having an absent seizure ,  just because a person has epilepsy does not automatically exempt them from working     There are different types and degrees  

    Yes there but, as we’ve said, the issue is not about frequency.
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    The type of security job he does, there are other people around all the time, he is not able to carry a wallat or keys, personal property has to be locked away before starting duty, there are at least 6 members of staff on duty at any one time.  He has had no regular discussions with his employer.  He has 52 duties on his job description he can perform 51 of them, lone working is not listed on his job description, the job description applies to other staff also 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    hells123 said: I disagree with you the frequency of the seizure is evidence of the type of epilepsy Richard has and how it affects his ability to do his job, if you have a lot of fits in any given week then that would provide evidence of the persons abilities to do the job 
    Yes I understand that., no disrespect but that seems a lot of fits in one week alone,   Richard can go for many weeks  without having an absent seizure ,  just because a person has epilepsy does not automatically exempt them from working     There are different types and degrees  

    Yes there but, as we’ve said, the issue is not about frequency.

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 4,677 Disability Gamechanger
    Lone working isn’t listed on my job description but I have to do it. 

    Nothing to add really. The fact that other people are “around all the time” is again nothing to the point. It would only be relevant if they were obliged to be. If they’re not obliged to be then you’d have to be a pretty stupid employer to run the risk as you’ve no guarantee someone would be there or something happened. I‘ve worked with people with different types of epilepsy over 30 years in different contexts and was in a relationship with one of them for 2.5 years. None of the employers would have entertained the idea of lone working. Frankly, it’s not a realistic expectation. 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    He will wait to see what his occupational report says, and take it from there, and apply to access to work to help and support him 
  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    mikehughescq said: we’ll occupational health never listed it as a restriction, so they must of been happy to sign him off on it and was provided with a copy of his job description at the time. It was never a realistic expectation, it was a reality from a medically qualified person 



    Lone working isn’t listed on my job description but I have to do it. 

    Nothing to add really. The fact that other people are “around all the time” is again nothing to the point. It would only be relevant if they were obliged to be. If they’re not obliged to be then you’d have to be a pretty stupid employer to run the risk as you’ve no guarantee someone would be there or something happened. I‘ve worked with people with different types of epilepsy over 30 years in different contexts and was in a relationship with one of them for 2.5 years. None of the employers would have entertained the idea of lone working. Frankly, it’s not a realistic expectation. 
    Lone working isn’t listed on my job description but I have to do it. 

    Nothing to add really. The fact that other people are “around all the time” is again nothing to the point. It would only be relevant if they were obliged to be. If they’re not obliged to be then you’d have to be a pretty stupid employer to run the risk as you’ve no guarantee someone would be there or something happened. I‘ve worked with people with different types of epilepsy over 30 years in different contexts and was in a relationship with one of them for 2.5 years. None of the employers would have entertained the idea of lone working. Frankly, it’s not a realistic expectation. 

  • hells123hells123 Member Posts: 33 Listener
    Thanks for your help 
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