In addition, most states have their own laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of disability. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the employment provisions of the ADA.Some of these state laws may apply to smaller employers and may provide protections in addition to those available under the ADA. This document, which is one of a series of question-and-answer documents addressing particular disabilities in the workplace, A seizure happens when abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes an involuntary change in body movement or function, sensation, awareness, or behavior.Title I of the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees as well as state and local government employers.
For example, if an employer asks all applicants post-offer about their general physical and mental health, it can ask individuals who disclose a particular illness, disease, or impairment for more medical information or require them to have a medical examination related to the condition disclosed. What may an employer do when it learns that an applicant has epilepsy after he has been offered a job but before he starts working?
When an applicant discloses after he has received a conditional job offer that he has epilepsy, an employer may ask the applicant additional questions about his epilepsy, such as whether he has held the same or a similar job since his diagnosis; whether he takes any medication; whether he still has seizures and, if so, what type; how long it takes him to recover after a seizure; and/or, whether he will need assistance if he has a seizure at work.
Because there is no evidence that the applicant will pose a significant risk of substantial harm while performing the duties of a chef, the employer may not withdraw the job offer.
The ADA strictly limits the circumstances under which an employer may ask questions about an employee's medical condition or require the employee to have a medical examination.
When the doctor expresses concern about the applicant's ability to work around stoves and use sharp utensils, the applicant explains that his seizures are controlled by medication and offers to bring information from his neurologist to answer the doctor's concerns.
He also points out that he has worked as a chef for seven years without incident.
The employer also may send the applicant for a follow-up medical examination or ask him to submit documentation from his doctor answering questions specifically designed to assess the applicant's ability to perform the job's functions safely.
Permissible follow-up questions at this stage differ from those at the pre-offer stage when an employer only may ask an applicant who voluntarily discloses a disability whether she needs an accommodation to perform the job and what type.
An employer may not withdraw an offer from an applicant with epilepsy if the applicant is able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation, without posing a direct threat (that is, a significant risk of substantial harm) to the health or safety of herself or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced through reasonable accommodation.
("Reasonable accommodation" is discussed in Questions 10 through 15.
Does the ADA require an applicant to disclose that she has epilepsy or some other disability before accepting a job offer? The ADA does not require applicants to voluntarily disclose that they have epilepsy or another disability unless they will need a reasonable accommodation for the application process (for example, permission to bring a service animal to an interview).