Epilepsy Action - Workplace Discrimination

The campaign, led by Rebekah Smith, Deputy CEO of Epilepsy Action, aims to address the significant workplace discrimination faced by individuals with epilepsy in the UK. It calls for stronger measures to enforce the Equality Act and proposes substantial fines for companies that discriminate against disabled people.

Key Findings:

  • Only 42% of people with epilepsy are employed, highlighting severe stigma and bias in the workplace.
  • These individuals face a 12% wage gap compared to non-disabled peers and 60% report workplace discrimination.
  • 42% of employers admit to avoiding hiring individuals with epilepsy, and 36% of staff feel uncomfortable working with them.
  • Half of employees with epilepsy fear reporting discrimination, leading to a culture of silence and fear.
  • Average fines for discrimination under the Equality Act are about £13K, deemed ineffective by Epilepsy Action.

Media Engagement: The campaign achieved widespread media coverage, with interviews and features across various platforms:

  1. National TV and Radio:
    • BBC The One Show: High-visibility national TV exposure.
    • BBC Scotland: Targeting the Scottish audience with a reach of 827,000.
    • Sky News Radio: National coverage with a reach of 273,615,000.
  2. BBC Regional Radio Stations:
    • Coverage in various regions including Kent, London, Surrey, Sussex, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Northampton, Suffolk, Three Counties, Wales, Yorkshire, Sheffield, Leeds, Derby, Leicester, and Nottingham.
    • Targeted outreach to specific local communities.
  3. ITV Regional News:
    • ITV Meridian (South East), ITV Wales, ITV London, and ITV Central: Focused regional TV coverage.
    • Ensuring visibility in key regional markets.
  4. Digital Platforms:
    • Interviews conducted via Zoom, ensuring a wider reach and accessibility.

Campaign Impact: Epilepsy Action’s campaign effectively highlighted the challenges faced by people with epilepsy in the workplace, sparking conversations about the need for stronger enforcement of the Equality Act. The campaign’s widespread media coverage across national and regional platforms significantly raised awareness of the issue.

The Epilepsy Action campaign successfully brought attention to the discrimination faced by individuals with epilepsy in the workplace and the need for stricter penalties under the Equality Act. The diverse media strategy, encompassing national TV, regional BBC stations, and digital platforms, ensured that the message reached a broad audience, influencing public opinion and policy discussions.