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Information for Employers

Information and advice on supporting somebody with TS at work

Many people with TS have amazing streaks of creativity. There are no jobs closed to people with TS. People with the condition work as chefs, bricklayers, drivers, computer specialists, teachers and almost any profession you can think of. In fact, with over 300,000 people in the UK living with TS you may already have an employee with TS without even knowing it.

Some people with TS, like with other disabilities, may require reasonable adjustments to help them carry out their daily tasks. To help you best support your employees we have put together the following information about supporting people with TS in the workplace.

Download our Factsheet for Employers for more information.

What is TS?

TS is an inherited, neurological condition, the key features of which are tics, involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and movements. TS is a complex condition and covers a wide spectrum of symptoms and associated behaviours, including OCD and ADHD. Only 10 per cent of people with TS swear. Each person with TS has different tics and will experience diverse symptoms. There is no cure for TS, but there are various treatments available.

You can find more information in our About TS section, or download our ‘What makes us tic?’ booklet, which explains more about the condition.

Tourette Syndrome and Disability

TS is a disability and therefore people are protected under the Equality Act 2010 from being discriminated against because of their condition. All the usual rules about discrimination apply to people with TS.

You can download our TS and disability factsheet to learn more about the legislation and organisations that can offer advice (see right hand column).


Neurodiversity refers to differences in people’s skills and abilities and encompasses a range of conditions including Tourette Syndrome.  For example, it is shown that people with TS show an ability to 'hyper-focus', but many may find auditory processing difficult.  Whilst we all have our own strengths and weaknesses, for some people the difference between them is significant. As an employer you can apply relevant psychological theory, evidence and practice to design interventions that work with human behaviour, not against it, and create an inclusive working environment that works for all.  Download and read the report from the British Psychological Society (right hand column) for an in-depth look at how you can improve well-being and productivity for employees with TS.


Tourettes Action recorded a webinar with Occupational Psychologist Nancy Doyle who specialises in supporting people with neurodiverse conditions to survive and thrive in the workplace.  The webinar covers: Tourettes and neurodiversity, reasonable adjustments, and how to feel supported in the workplace. An informative resource for employees and employers - watch it here. Nancy Doyle featured in award winning BBC series Employable Me.

Interviewing somebody with TS

A person is not obliged to say on their application form that they have TS, but if they do you need to make sure that they can access the interview and are not disadvantaged in any way. You may find that you notice tics during an interview. Symptoms are made worse during periods of stress, so it is likely that a person with TS will tic during an interview. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their TS and if they are aware of any reasonable adjustments they may need to support them in their work.

Organising reasonable adjustments

People with TS usually are aware of what makes their situation work and so good practice is really important. Talk to your employee about what they think their needs might be and involve your human resources department in the discussion.

The support each person will vary, depending on their symptoms and the job they are doing. For example:

  • An office worker with vocal tics might need a desk in a quiet corner so that they can tic away from other people, so as not to disturb others.
  • An electrician who visits private and business properties may carry a card or letter from their company that explains that they have TS. It might say that if they are making unusual noises or movements it is because of their condition, and can be shown when they arrive at a property so that the customer understands their behaviour.

Be aware that if you are making changes to a workspace or working hours, for example, this may affect a person with TS. Involve them in the planning process to mitigate the effects of the changes on their TS.

Communication is key

TS waxes and wanes and tics change over time, so meet regularly to discuss your employee’s progress and see if you need to discuss other methods of support. If you feel that a person’s symptoms are having a negative effect on their work you should talk to the person concerned to outline your concerns and try to arrive at a solution together. If you need to, you can involve your personnel department who should adhere to all requirements under employment law.

Communication is key and can help avoid a situation deteriorating between you and your employee. However, if you get to the stage that you are finding it difficult to find positive solutions you can contact Tourettes Action for advice and support in dealing with TS.