Excerpted from The Denver Post By Aldo Svaldi

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued two metro-area employers, alleging they fired workers who suffered epileptic seizures in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Denver-based Gollnick Construction, which does business as Colorado Excavating, engaged in disability discrimination by firing office assistant Dora Marquez four days after she had suffered a seizure at work, the EEOC alleges.

Marquez informed the company’s office manager when she felt a seizure coming on. She left the hospital the same day without restrictions on the tasks she could perform at work, but Colorado Excavating fired her four days later because of her disability, the EEOC said.

“Far too often, people with seizure disorders are denied employment opportunities because of myths and fears about their condition,” Mary Jo O’Neill, a regional EEOC attorney in the Phoenix office, said in a statement.

In the second lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that Waterway Gas and Wash Co., a national carwash chain, violated federal law when it fired an employee who had a seizure at its Lone Tree location.

Tyson Aoyagi was dismissed two weeks after he suffered a seizure at work. He requested an accommodation for his disability, which the company refused without an explanation. Aoyagi was in the process of training to be a team leader when he was let go.

The unemployment rate for individuals with epilepsy is two to three times that of the general population, and individuals with epilepsy are more likely to be underemployed and earn less than people who don’t have the condition, the EEOC said.

“Despite medical advances and increased awareness about epilepsy, public misunderstanding and discrimination still exist for those with this brain disorder,” Sarah Klein, CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, said in a statement.

“Most people with epilepsy don’t need any accommodations at work, so employers should not presume that epilepsy has any impact on an employee’s ability to do their job,” she said.