Category: Uncategorized Comments: One comment

People look at me and most of the time I look normal. I act normal. To be honest, except for those moments when I am flopping around the floor, I think of myself as a pretty normal guy. Yet I cannot discount those moments as easily as people who observe me on the street do. In reality, society does not discount those moments, either. The minute a seizure occurs, our lives are changed forever. As seizure patients, everyone around us views us differently.

I understand this is a difficult statement to accept. Those who view themselves as the most “easy-going” and “accepting” of people will immediately respond by saying “I don’t do that.” Of course you don’t. You aren’t sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic or anything else either. You are a wonderful person. Unfortunately, society, as a whole, does not work that way.

In 2003, for example, NBC in Jacksonville, Florida ran a story that claimed discrimination against Epileptics was on the rise in northeast Florida (1). The story claimed that although epileptics often get jobs after fully disclosing that they were epileptic, after their first seizure at work, they were summarily terminated. Kristene Fields from the Florida Epilepsy Foundation said that “once or twice a month” she received calls from people terminated from jobs for being epileptic.

Recent history has shown Ms. Fields to be correct. January 8, 2014: A man working in a packing plant had a seizure and was fired the next day as a “risk to himself and the plant.” (2) February 24, 2014: A Miami Hospital agreed to pay $215,000 after firing a doctor who requested accommodation to his schedule for epilepsy (3). May 12, 2012: A waitress in Australia was fired three days into her new job and told, “’I don’t want you falling on my ground’” (4).

Going back a little further: May 19, 2009: A salesman was awarded $475,000 after his company terminated him for developing adult-onset seizures as they deemed him “now disabled.” (5) February 9, 2012: A convenience store worker was awarded $50,000 after being terminated the day after his workday seizure. He, too, was told he was “a danger to himself and those around him.” (6)

I, myself, have been fired for having seizures. Believe me: it is hard getting a job where you put the word “epileptic” on your resume. It is hard keeping a job if you are unlucky enough to have a seizure at work. It is hard making enough money to pay for public transportation if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area and all three million of us can’t move to New York.

Most of the time it’s just hard falling down.

1 – http://archive.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=8989
2 – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/metro-inspectors-accuse-gateshead-epileptic-6736904
3 – http://www.law360.com/articles/512303/fla-hospital-settles-suit-over-epileptic-doctor-s-firing
4 – http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/sacked-over-epilepsy/1390001/
5 – http://abelllaw.typepad.com/kentucky_employment_law/2009/06/epileptic-awarded-475000-in-disability-discrimination-suit.html
6 – http://talkaboutitorg.ning.com/profiles/blogs/ca-thrift-shop-to-pay-50-000-to-worker-fired-for-having-epilepsy-

One comment to I NEED A JOB

  • KAZMO JONES  says:

    Awesome post as always Mark! Much love. People need not be so ignorant. It’s sad that many are.

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>