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Question about HR/ Management/ Disabilities

By CuteElf ·
Hi yalls.

I have a specific question, but it may spin off into tangents about management and other admin realms.

I have epilepsy.
I have not had a seizure in over 4 years.
I take drugs on a daily basis to control the seizures.
I drive.

With that said,....

I'm now working in a large data center. Ones with whole rooms larger than my apartment holding servers & machines worth more than my car.

I told my boss that I have E, and he's kinda...tense. He doesnt want me on a ladder (fair enough) but has also raised the point of DC (electricity) causing a seizure.

I've also never had any "work restrictions" on me from a doctor. I've had E for so long, I just don't do jobs that are dangerous to me:
I cant drive big rigs, fly planes, become a cop (firearm)...
But i've been a prep cook (knives!) and would just ask boss "hey boss, had a sz today, can I not be in kitchen?" and work around it that way.

Have ANY of yalls out there dealt w/ a person in IT who has E?
How did you deal with it?
Did you have to have doctor note and outside permissions to let person do certain tasks?
Have you ever heard of DC causing a sz? (I know AC can really rip through a body and damage it..)

What all advice do you have? I dont want to **** this job, I like it, the company, the people...but I dont want to be steamrolled & pwned in a bad way.

Any advice/ thoughts are appreciated.


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I've worked with a lot of people with disabilities

by jmgarvin In reply to Question about HR/ Manage ...

I've worked with a deaf guy that would drive me insane (he'd read my lips from across the room and then act like he had ESP :-) ), a blind woman that made me realize how far behind the curve Linux was in accessibility for the blind, and a guy with a form of tourette's (he stuttered and had issues with head jerking).

My best experience was working with the blind woman. At first I tried to do a lot for her and help her out to make sure she was able to work. After a while she mentioned to me that I might as well fire her, since I seem to be doing her job. She was joking around, but at the same time there was a note of truth. So that's when I realized that it doesn't matter, as long as they can do their job, it's all good.

With all those people, I never once asked them to do something they couldn't do...but on the flip side, I never told them what they couldn't do either. Typically, things like this will work themselves out, but sometimes you have to vocalize what you can and cannot do very clearly, or there might be misunderstanding later on.

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Unfortuanately I've worked with very few

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Question about HR/ Manage ...

people with disabilities, well as far as I'm aware anyway.
I think your best angle of attack is to make your boss aware that you are aware of those limitations E forces on you.

At the moment, he's trying to protect himself and the company from any potential liability, whereas of course you are protecting you. One of you has a much higher stake than the other, make that clear to him. He's trying to nanny you, let him know you're an adult.

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Just get the boss some information on Epilepsy,

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Question about HR/ Manage ...

most people worry as they don't know what to expect. If still concerned, get your doctor to write a note about what he should be concerned with.

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Your boss sounds very uninformed

by jck In reply to Question about HR/ Manage ...

Get info...present it to him...inform him.

Also point out to him, it is not the DC (I assume you mean direct current) that causes seizures...unless of course, you're set on chomping on positive and negative leads.

It's the EMF that can cause them...and if you are sensitive enough, fluorescent lighting ballists, electric bulk erasers, and other high-EMF producers that get close enough to you can (notice: not will) cause seizures.

Chances are, you're not going to have one, especially if you're on meds, i.e.- Phenobarbitol, etc. The precaution of you not climbing ladders is reasonable. Not being able to use a keyboard or work on a PC would not be reasonable.

I had petit mal seizures as a kid. I had to quit skateboarding and stuff for a while, but I didn't have to quit school or anything.

Just inform him as best you can, both in regards to the condition...and as to the ADA. I think that under it you are employable with your condition so long as you only require "reasonable accomodation". He could not similarly prevent someone who uses crutches to walk from working for him, e.g.- polio sufferer.

And, I don't think he can remove you from your position for having epilepsy so long as you're not a danger to yourself or others in your workplace, as far as I know.

Good luck with it. Hope he sees the light. :)

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by Pixie Programmer In reply to Your boss sounds very uni ...

Unfortunately, people with epilepsy are not included in the ADA. We were removed several years ago. You can go to to find that information out. The artical there was last updated on 01/22/2007. You could help by clicking on the link to send a message to senators to put us back on the list.

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For a friend of mine

by neilb@uk In reply to Question about HR/ Manage ...

getting his driving license back was the key.

He used to say to anyone who even looked at him sideways about his epilepsy that if the government considered him OK to drive at 70mph or more in a ton of steel then nobody else should have any problems.

He hasn't had a fit for around twelve years now and we've nearly all forgotten he ever used to have any fits. He probably won't come off his meds as he wants to keep his driving license and the only way to see if you've stopped fitting is to wait and see if you have another. Then the license goes for a couple more years and insurance goes up when you get it back.

He has his own computer business now but he's worked in small and large companies and never any symptoms. Last time he contemplated coming off the meds, he was told by his physician that a strong feeling of deja vu can be a sign that fits are just below the surface. Given that, don't go up a ladder if you think that you've been up the same ladder before!

Neil :)

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Many thanks, keep it coming.

by CuteElf In reply to Question about HR/ Manage ...

I know the boss is trying to cover Administrative Butt, but also is concerned about me & my welfare.

I guess my biggest gripe is that I have NEVER had to prove that I'm OK to do anything, people have taken me at my word for it.
If I was at work, (long time ago) and had a seizure, I'd say, Hey, Need to go home...and they'd let me. Or if I was having deja vu's, waves, signals...I'd tell the super /boss and say, put me on something flat/quiet/safe like restocking shelves now. We would always work around it that way.

Anohter concern of mine is that since I'm in a new town/area I dont have a doctor just yet. So how in the world would I be able to walk up to Dr. X and say: Hi, I'm Me, I have E, and I need you to write out a note saying its ok for me to juggle knives?

I really didnt think that ladders/ above ground would be an issue at all. I know my body well enough to listen for the signals, and WHEN they DO show up, I deal with it.
But 99% of the time now I'm kosher, no sz for so long!

I dont understand why they cant take that.


Please, keep the ideas, info coming. Need it.

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by Pixie Programmer In reply to Many thanks, keep it comi ...

Unfortunately, people with epilepsy are not included in the ADA. We were removed several years ago. You can go to to find that information out. The artical there was last updated on 01/22/2007. You could help by clicking on the link to send a message to senators to put us back on the list.

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There is not a specific list of conditions

by TonytheTiger In reply to ADA

which qualify for ADA coverage. The actual text of the law doesn't name any, instead saying "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity."

These determinations are always made on a case-by-case basis.

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My experience

by maxwell edison In reply to Question about HR/ Manage ...

I've never worked with or managed anyone with a disability, except one or two with M.B.S. (Missing Brain Syndrome), but they don't count.

I think you probably did the right thing by telling your boss, but I'd make sure to reiterate that the ONLY reason you told him was so he'd know what was going on if you did have a seizure, which would be highly unlikely, and perhaps to let him know how to respond in such an event. But in no way were you asking for special treatment or anything else; in fact, that's the last thing you want.

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