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I’m studying and need help with a English question to help me learn.Vanity Defense: Obsessive primping cost woman her job, sparked lawsuitundefinedBy: Denny Walsh, Sacramento Bee (reprinted 2/18/01 – Dallas Morning News)Most people strive to look presentable. Some are even fixated on the process. Is it possible that fixation amounts to a bona fide disability? Could be, says a federal appellate court.Carolyn Humphrey, an otherwise excellent employee, compiled a history of tardiness and absenteeism because of grooming rituals that took hours, sometimes all day.Ms. Humphrey, a medical transcriber, sued the California hospital that fired her, claiming that the obsessive trait that drove her relentless primping had not been accommodated, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).A federal judge in Fresno, California threw her case out of court. But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided last month that Ms. Humphrey had a good point and sent her case back for trial.A jury could reasonably find that the hospital fired Ms. Humphrey because of a disability, the appellate panel concluded.The disabilities act was designed to ensure, among other rights, equal employment opportunities for people with physical or mental impairments. But some legal experts contend that its broad language has led to unanticipated consequences and abuse of congressional intent.Ms. Humphrey’s attorney, Jerome Budin, bristles at any suggestion that his client is a malingerer. Her ritualistic behavior “is as much of a disability as a missing arm or leg, just as debilitating, and should be protected in the same fashion,” Mr. Budin said. “You can’t put your arms around it, but it’s real.”Under the ADA, a disability is any impairment that substantially hinders a major life activity. Attorneys for Memorial Hospital in Modesto, California argue that Ms. Humphrey is not disabled within the meaning of the statute.But Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the unanimous circuit panel, pointed out that federal employment regulations define “caring for oneself” as a major life activity. Two doctors have diagnosed Ms. Humphrey with obsessive compulsive disorder, Judge Reinhardt noted.She was fired in 1995, after continuing to be absent and tardy even with treatment, albeit sporadic, and a flexible work schedule.Ms. Humphrey, 47, went to work at Memorial Hospital in 1986, but it was not until three years later that she began to experience the symptoms that finally led to her termination.The process of showering, brushing her hair and dressing could take her several hours and, at times, she prepared for work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or later.She felt compelled to rinse her hair for as long as an hour. And if it didn’t “feel right,” she would return to the shower to wash it again. The feeling that something was crawling on her scalp caused her to pull out strands of hair and examine them closely. She also had a compulsion to dress slowly.Two disciplinary warnings were issued by the hospital in 1994 to no avail. After watching an Oprah Winfrey television show devoted to attention deficit disorder, Ms. Humphrey began to suspect that her ritual might be related to a medical condition.The hospital arranged and paid for evaluation and psychological testing and, in May 1995, she was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. The psychologist notified the hospital that the malady “is directly contributing to her problem with lateness” and warned that she “may have to take some time off.”She sought treatment from that doctor and another, but the same irresistible grooming urges that resulted in spotty work attendance made her miss doctors’ appointments. In addition, treatment proved to be a heavy financial burden because her insurance didn’t cover it.She accepted the hospital’s offer of a flexible start time. That allowed her to begin anytime within a 24-hour period on scheduled work days. Still the problem persisted.Ms. Humphrey proposed that she work at home, as some other transcriptionists were doing, but the hospital rejected that idea because of the past disciplines.Questions to discuss Place your response to each question in the space provided below each question.The employer stated in court that Ms. Humphrey was not qualified under ADA. What are the criteria for being qualified under ADA? Explain why you think she did or did not meet each of these qualifications.
Do you think the employer gave Ms. Humphrey reasonable accommodation for her condition? Explain why or why not.
Did the employer go far enough in accommodating her? Explain why or why not.
Who do you think “won” the appeals case?
Requirements: few answers


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