All employers have a responsibility to ensure that people who work for them are treated fairly. This includes people with a chronic health condition or disability. Not only does this help employers maintain their obligations under the law, but it is also good for business. An employer has to take reasonable measures, e.g. provide services and facilities where this is reasonable, to meet an employee’s needs under the Human Rights Act 1993. This can also be described as making reasonable accommodation as describe here at Employment New Zealand and the Human Rights Commission
What to do if a candidate for a paid or unpaid role at your organisation discloses that they have epilepsy.
Every person with epilepsy is free to choose whether to disclose their diagnosis. Some people living with epilepsy may require some small adjustments to their work environment, such as different hours or breaks at particular times. However, these adjustments are usually very minor when compared to the value the person with epilepsy can add to an organisation.
To understand why an unpaid or paid staff member may decided whether or not to disclose their epilepsy diagnosis, refer to Epilepsy New Zealand’s disclosure guide supported by Epilepsy New Zealand.: Disclosing your epilepsy to get the job done, the content of which refers to employers ( e.g. those who recruit to paid roles) but is equally relevant to unpaid (volunteer roles).
This information is not intended as legal advice, but rather a general guide for employers about epilepsy in the workplace, which may help provide some initial understanding about the relevant legal and support issues. Understanding rights and responsibilities is an important step towards achieving an inclusive workplace.
According to the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Disability Act), employers have an obligation to accommodate for the needs of disabled employees and provide a safe environment in the workplace.
The Employment Relations Authority helps to resolve employment relationship problems. It does this by looking into the facts and making a decision based on the merits of the case, not on technicalities. It is an independent body set up under the Employment Relations Act 2000.