Medical Personnel and Epilepsy
There are no federal laws barring people with epilepsy from working as a nurse, physician, phlebotomist or other medical-related position. In fact, federal civil rights law, and many state laws, may protect your right to work in the medical profession.
Under federal law, an employer generally cannot refuse to hire or fire an individual with a disability who is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation, because of his disability. The only two exceptions are 1) if the individual poses a "direct threat" to the health or safety of himself or others, and this risk cannot be eliminated by using a reasonable accommodation, or 2) providing the reasonable accommodation would impose an undue burden on the employer in terms of expense or administration. Reasonable accommodations for medical professionals with epilepsy may, depending upon the job and the individual's medical condition, include shift changes, working part-time, regular breaks and temporary reassignment of certain tasks until seizures are controlled for three months, as well as other modifications.
To learn more about your rights under federal law, read our factsheets on each federal law. Which federal law applies depends on the type of medical facility you work for.
Private hospitals and facilities, as well as those run by state and local governments, must comply with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those private and state-run hospitals that receive federal funding, such as Medicare reimbursement, must also comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Federally operated hospitals such as Veterans Administration Hospitals must comply with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
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