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Verdict: not disabled. (Upfront Update).

If you can't do your job but you can brush your teeth, are you disabled?

The Supreme Court, in effect, answered no in the case of Ella Williams, an assembly-line worker with carpal tunnel syndrome ("Making the Supreme Decision," 10/1/01). The decision said that to qualify as disabled, and to be protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), a person must have substantial limitations both on and off the job. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said, "Household chores, bathing, and brushing one's teeth are among the types of manual tasks of central importance to people's daily lives" and should have been considered when a lower court ruled she was disabled. Williams still took care of her hygiene, cooking, and some housework.

Stephen Bokat of the National Chamber Litigation Center called the decision a victory for employers: "The Court understood that the ADA was not meant to create a loophole for people with routine limitations or minor injuries."
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Title Annotation:Supreme Court decision in carpal tunnel syndrome sufferer Ella Williams
Author:Greenhouse, Linda
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 11, 2002
Words:159
Previous Article:Early decisions. (College).
Next Article:Virtually dead. (Circuits).
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