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Employment Law - Security Guard with Epilepsy - Where Do I Stand?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by John Simmonds, 22 August 2015.

  1. John Simmonds

    John Simmonds New Member

    29 July 2015
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    I am a Security Guard of 12 years experience. Recently I took an additional security course to improve my position in the workplace financially. Part of the course was training to handle a Handgun. I wish to work as an armed security guard preferably in cash in transit.

    I had to get certification from my doctor to say that I was a fit person to take firearms training as I have a controlled medical condition which is epilepsy. This has been fully controlled for 18 years and I have held a drivers licence over this period of time.My work is not affected by epilepsy in any way. I might have a couple of very rare mild seizures per year at night only in my sleep. It has been the case in the past that on quite a few occasions whenever I have declared my epilepsy to an employer, that I do not get the job. What can I do about this ?

    I have been with my present employer for over 1 year but want to do more interesting better paid work as I have stated. I recently went to a Major cash in Transit employer Armaguard in Perth WA and was offered the job. On their in depth medical questioner it asks if the applicant has any medical condition which might affect their ability to perform a satisfactory job. Epilepsy was one of the conditions asked about. I declined to mention Epilepsy as it does not affect my ability to perform a satisfactory job. All my documents were photocopied including my driving licence.

    Later that day, I checked through my wallet and came across my driving licence. Upon looking at my licence I looked at the rear of it and realised that there are two lines that say must wear spectacles while driving, Take medication as prescribed by doctor. I had totally forgotten about this written on my drivers licence. I realised that Armaguard or any other prospective employer would see this and ask what I am taking medication for.

    I decided that I would declare my epilepsy to Armaguard the next day and apologise for my oversight and point out that I did not declare it as it did not affect my work. Furthermore I had just completed a Handgun Handling course and received a certificate which they had copy of. They took note and over the next week and a half took more details from me in relation to my work history, etc. I then received a phone call to tell me that I was not suitable for them to employ me. I asked why not, they said because I did not declare epilepsy on my application form at my interview they pointed out that they could only employ honest people as I would be handling money. It took a long time for them to arrive at this decision.

    Where does this leave me under employment law? Will I be able to do armed cash in transit work with any security company ? Are there any security guards with controlled epilepsy working in armed cash in transit in Australia?
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Guest

    Hi John,

    as for these questions:
    I don't have an answer.

    However, as regards discrimination on the basis of epilepsy, it is lawful for a business to choose not to employ you because of a disability - but only when you would be "unable to perform the inherent requirements of that job". Employers are also within their rights to question employees about the impact of their disability on their ability to fulfil the prospective role. Therefore, if a potential employer deems you in capable of performing the inherent requirements of the job on the basis of your condition, it will not be construed as discrimination. You can however provide supporting evidence such as a letter from your doctor or previous employers regarding the level to which you are able to control your seizures etc, in order to convince a prospective employer that you can perform the inherent requirements of the job. I would understand however in such a high risk industry where fire arms are carried and safety of you and your co-workers is a very real concern, that employers would be hesitant to take you on, even if your condition is usually controlled.

    As regards the other job, I think you have shot your self in the foot by not disclosing your epilepsy on the interview form. Dishonesty is a fair enough basis for not employing someone to work with money.
  3. Ruslana Yevseyeva

    28 February 2017
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    Hello john,

    I just read your topic and want to say what if you want to get a job where you will be a security guard with a gun and it means you have to be ready to use it when you need to. So they have that argument - what if you have a seizure at that time when you should act as an armed guardian but you can't :(

    BTW, you have to get a permit for using a gun. I don't know if you can get it!
  4. Rob Legat - SBPL

    LawTap Verified Lawyer

    16 February 2017
    Likes Received:
    I'd add that from a legal perspective, you're not qualified to make a determination as to whether or not your medical condition may impact your work. That's a determination that can only be made by a suitably qualified medical professional. Your requirement is to truthfully answer the pertinent questions. Your employer doesn't know the extent of your condition or what may occur.

    From a public liability standpoint, if something were to occur given your role as an armed guard, there repercussions could be massive.
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