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Inability to Type Not a Disability

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the never-stopped-CmdrTaco-before dept.

The Courts 266

gizmo_mathboy writes: "The 9th Circuit Court has ruled that not being able to type does not give one protection/privilege under the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA). This article on Yahoo! has information concerning the case."

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266 comments

This makes perfect sense (1, Informative)

BillyGoatThree (324006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2109678)

Consider, there are three basic reasons for not being able to type.

1) Physical problem. Like you have no fingers or your wrists won't bend or whatever. In which you presumably *already* qualified as disabled.

2) Mental problem. Like dyslexia or not being intelligent enough to know your alphabet or whatever. Again, presumably you already qualify.

3) Education problem, i.e. you never learned how. You aren't disabled. Go learn to type then reapply for the job.

Uhhh, no shit. (0, Flamebait)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2110709)

This is silly. First of all, what kind of people without some other serious disability CAN'T type? I mean, you don't see a lot of people that are otherwise perfectly healthy who just can't figure ASDF JKL; out. Maybe typing 120 WPM makes me biased, I don't know.

Re:Uhhh, no shit. (0, Flamebait)

Tychoma (235497) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135694)

Or you could try reading the article first, before bragging about how fast you can type.

Re:Uhhh, no shit. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154120)

You're seriously bragging about the number of words per minute you can type? Dewd, you're fucking lame.

Re:Uhhh, no shit. (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154223)

You're seriously bragging about the number of words per minute you can type? Dewd, you're fucking lame.

It's something secretaries do I've heard...

Re:Uhhh, no shit. (5, Insightful)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154197)

OK - hold on a second. Its one thing if some random burger flipper can't type. Its a whole other story if your career involves typing. How many of you here saying 'well of course its no disablility' would be saying the same thing if you lost your fingers in an accident? Your programmers, IT types, etc. WTF would you do? Use of a computer today is required in most fields - sure she can work at McDonalds, but thats a serious impact to her career and incoming earning potential.

I've been there. Anyone who has read my posts may notice that I often swap letters in words (especially the - its often teh) Theres a reason and its not dyslexia :) A few years ago, I was working in teh yard after a big storm hit. Lots of trees down, etc. Was finally getting the stumps to a burn pile to get rid of them. As I was rolling a stump onto the pile, it rolled forward, grabbed my glove and rolled onto my hand. A small sharp piece of metal or something punctured my wrist (1/4' max) and severed 3 tendons to my fingers on my left hand - I couldn't move them at all.

After surgery, I had months of rehab to slowly get the tendons back into shape without ripping them apart. Typing was out for some time. I was an IT manager who did about 50% mgmt and 50% seniuor IT tech work due to staffin glevels. It was a HUGE imparment to my work. This was in 97 or so, and I tried ViaVoice and stuff. It kinda worked, but was brutal and slow. Todays technology may be better so this is moot, but in 97 it wasn't up to par.

My productivity was greatly impacted during my recovery. I can understand where this woman is coming from. Due to a failin gin the therapy of my fingers, the tendons for 2 fingers fused at the repair site and I've lost about 70-80% of the independence of them (ie they move together often) So for some reason I often swap letters in words as I type not even realizing it since my brain has been wired to move my fingers to type in such a way for years. My point is, inability to type is a serious issue!

In working for her employer she injured herself by working at a workstation that wasn't ergonomic. She got CT really bad (my Mom had it - she couldn't even pick up a coffee cup at the worst - she finally had her hand and wrist cut open and they managed to reduce the pain so she sould sitll code) Then her company let her go (though its nice they did try to accomodate her) Bottom line is she is seriously disabled and its got her fired. She deserves disability in this day and age - sorry - call me a bleeding hear tliberal if you want (you'd be wrong) but inability to type is a huge imparment. She'd have to have someone to transcribe her stuff which to a company vastly increases the cost of her as an employee - not likely in this day and age.

So before scoffing at this, just think what it would be like if YOU couldn't type. Sure you MIGHT be able to improvise and such - but your productivity would go WAY down - would your employer just accept that or get rid of you?

Re:Uhhh, no shit. (2)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135572)

Just a clarification - I'm not saying my letter swapping is a disabliity - I structured that paragraph badly. I just mentioned it cause I've often had folks laugh at my spelling of some words in my posts.

My point was when my entire wrist and hadn were in a therapy contraption I was unable to type with my left hand for about 2 months. I can type fine now save the letter swapping thing. But when I was in therapy, I still had my right hand to type with! And it was STILL a huge hit to productivity and such. Being unable to type at all - well thats a huge deal. Sure, we all have manager swho get ahead only hunt and pecking, but lets be serious - in this day and age where you type lots each day - hunt a peck isn't gonna cut it ;)

Re:Uhhh, no shit. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2158015)

h ah aha you izz a dumbazz! L33T HaX0R WoRm rockz da haus.

Re:Uhhh, no shit. (0, Flamebait)

CMBurns (38993) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154244)

What do you expect from the US of Asses? A country where people are dumb enough to dry their pets in a microwave oven when there's no warning sticker on it has definitely reached the lowest of all intellectual standards.

So what's left for our general dumbass? Cry about not being given a job and blame it on some obscure disabilities. Oh, and by the way drag it to court. I guess 10 billion should be enough to heal thos terribly wounds in their fragile little souls...

C. M. Burns

Catch 22 (3, Offtopic)

SilLumTao (134743) | more than 12 years ago | (#2110828)

I would have responded to this article, but I can't type...

Disability is about more than "whining". (5, Insightful)

2Flower (216318) | more than 12 years ago | (#2111134)

The minute I read the article, I realized what we'd be seeing in this thread on /. ... lots of modded up (+2, Funny) jokes about laziness, mocking posts saying RSI and carpal tunnel don't exist, etc, etc. Sad, really, that things are that predictable...

Obviously, not every single person claiming to have a disability actually has one. The guys with temporary paper tags in their windows filling up the handicap spaces so I can't park close enough to unload my walker from the car are very suspect... but just from what I'm reading here, this looks legitimate rather than someone being 'Lazy'.

And in her chosen profession, yes, not being able to type is a serious problem. As the third judge pointed out, in modern life in general typing is becoming more and more of a critical skill unless you wanna stuff tacos for a living. (CmdrTaco?) It's not fair to punt someone from the line of work they've trained for just because they COULD do something else that doesn't involve typing.

So, if you take as truth that we are dealing with a legit disability here and it's one that directly relates to her livelihood... the issue then becomes 'Well, what can be done?'. To that, I'm not sure. It sounds like lots of accommodations have already been made, to the point where they've run out of things that can make the situation more bearable for the reporter and allow her to do her job. I'm not sure if firing was appropriate, but they have hit a wall. That's the real issue here; not if she's faking it, but how can this be handled in a feasible and reasonable way?

Re:Using a computer is about more than "typing". (2)

evilandi (2800) | more than 12 years ago | (#2115840)

in modern life in general typing is becoming more and more of a critical skill unless you wanna stuff tacos for a living

Surely exactly the opposite is the whole point of the article?

The claim is that sufficient alternatives to keyboard input exist, not that sufficient alternatives to using a computer exist.

Which having seen my friend's ponderous progress with an on-screen keyboard and voice recognition, I have to say that's also bollocks, but that still isn't the same as what you were saying.

asfewtv93 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2115276)

wekwew wee-303;l vsczcx asdaa.qsw pp#@@ #. CZOER

My grandmother has a hard time typing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2119398)

due to her arthritis, but she was able to bang this one into the old computer last night:

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] g
o / \ [slashdot.org] \ [slashdot.org] / \ o
a| | [slashdot.org] \ | [slashdot.org] | a
t| `. [slashdot.org] | | [slashdot.org] : t
s` | [slashdot.org] | \| [slashdot.org] | s
e \ | / [slashdot.org] / \\\ --__ \\ : e
x \ \/ _--~~ [slashdot.org] ~--__| \ | x
* \ \_-~ [slashdot.org] ~-_\ | *
g \_ \ _.--------.______\| | g
o \ [slashdot.org] \______// [slashdot.org] _ [slashdot.org] ___ [slashdot.org] _ (_(__> [slashdot.org] \ | [slashdot.org] o
a \ . C ___) ______ (_(____> | / a
t /\ | C ____)/ \ (_____> |_/ t
s / /\| C_____) | (___> / \ s
e | ( _C_____)\______/ // _/ / \ e
x | \ |__ \\_________// (__/ | x
* | \ \____) `---- --' [slashdot.org] | *
g | \_ ___\ /_ _/ | g
o | [slashdot.org] / [slashdot.org] | | [slashdot.org] \ | o
a | [slashdot.org] | / [slashdot.org] \ \ [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] | a
t | [slashdot.org] / / | [slashdot.org] | \ |t
s | / / \__/\___/ | |s
e | / / [slashdot.org] | | | [slashdot.org] |e
x | | [slashdot.org] | | [slashdot.org] | |x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

but... (1)

counsell (4057) | more than 12 years ago | (#2119399)

...not taking the time to learn to touch type is definitely handicapping yourself unnecessarily.

When people ask me how to speed up their computers I say: "Get a copy of Mavis Beacon!".

we had a similar employee (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2120433)

I was doin unix support @ lucent and we hade to work to get this user's CDE fonts *HUGE* [think like 8x3 chars on a 21" monitor] even then the user had to have their nose like 10 inches (.3M) from the screen !!! The user had some degenerative eye disease

The shocking part is ... the user drove themself to work everyday, and the car was dent free.

Re:we had a similar employee (1)

alen (225700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137801)

When I was in the army I drove a humvee drunk one time on an italian city street. Closing one eye doesn't really work.

Hmm.... (3, Insightful)

jamesoutlaw (87295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2122118)

Well.. I typically "lean left" politically, but in this case, I agree with the courts. It appears that the employer made reasonable efforts to accommodate the reporter.

I wonder what type of medical treatment she had... if I remember correctly, there are surgical techniques that can be performed to correct these types of injuries.

I also wonder how much effort she put into researching assistive technologies- other than voice recognition. In 1997, voice recognition technology might not have been adequate, but currently, I think that's a very viable option. Via Voice appears to be a great product (of course, I'm making that judgement based only on the demo's I've seen).

She's got all kinds of employment opportunities.. it looks like she's just looking for an easy way out. When people are put into a difficult situation, they can play one of two roles: the "helpless victim" and the "adapt and overcomer". I saw a woman once who had no arms but still used a computer. She typed with her toes. If that woman can use a computer, I see no reason why the reporter in this article could not adapt and overcome her injuries. It looks like she's rather be a "helpless victim".

Doesn't seem right (1, Insightful)

graphicartist82 (462767) | more than 12 years ago | (#2126256)

What if you have a Masters in Computer Science, and you have a car accident and damage your hands to the point of not being able to use a computer. According to this ruling, would they just tell the poor guy that he has to go flip burgers for the rest of his life?

Re:Doesn't seem right (1)

ReelOddeeo (115880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2111133)

I find that a lot of time is spent thinking, and designing. Not just typing.

One could also learn one of several programming languages designed by non-typists for non-typists. (i.e. C, Perl)

I think the issue is missed (5, Insightful)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2126531)

When someone files for disability, they receive money from the federal government stating that they cannot work. Say some construction guy has been working on houses for 20 years and is finally to old and worn out (due to injuries) that he can no longer build houses or whatever. He files for disability to help him live. Well what happens when a 55 year old programmer has carpel tunnel or arthritis? I guess you should hope by the time you reach that age you can dictate your code to the computer. I think this is not as obvious as it first seems.

Re:I think the issue is missed (1)

delcielo (217760) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133414)

The catch to that argument is that the companies ultimately pay those bills, not necessarily the government. The taxes and "insurances" paid by employers is pretty impressive when it comes to entitlements. Also, she wasn't suing the company to get disability from the government. She was suing the company to get money from them.

Re:I think the issue is missed (2)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2138412)

You are correct, she is suing the company for discrimination on federal laws. Those laws determine if she was disabled, therfore, discriminated against.

Re:I think the issue is missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2147377)

How would this then affect the availabilty of an older programmer to find a job. If I were running a company I certainly would not look for shitty employees that would sue me up the ass after a few years. Of course this stereotypes the old, but couldn't older people be considered a liabilty?

Already too many people "abusing" ADA status (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 12 years ago | (#2131203)

I think the process for obtaining ADA status has become too easy. All too frequently I am witness to people who have no disbilties whatsoever other than being lazy and inconsiderate but yet have handicap license plates. So, does that mean being lazy and inconsiderate ARE handicaps?

Same thing in sports... (1)

MadMilkman (456690) | more than 12 years ago | (#2131703)

I think Shin Splits can be compared to RSI rather easily. The athlete has a problem with his legs. If it's mild, they wrap them and he keeps on playing. It it's major, he takes time off and plays again when his legs have healed. RSI works the same way. If your wrists hurt, do something about it. If they hurt so bad that you can't do anything (which has happened to me), stop typing, or cut it down to a minimum, and wait for things to get better. They usually do.

They call me the Mad Milkman

i've always wondered.... (1, Troll)

canning (228134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2132773)

is laziness a disability? I can type pretty well, code, administrate a network but I could really do without work. That is really hampering my progress and I feel that this is disabling me. What do the people at Slashdot think?

Re:i've always wondered.... (2)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135323)

Only if you can somehow prove it's impossible to overcome, i.e., you're mentally impaired or some chemical imbalance is keeping you from being able to motivate yourself.

(Yes, I know this was a joke, but there's a real point worth making in it. There are true disabilities out there that could be interpreted as laziness, but laziness itself is not a disability.)

Re:i've always wondered.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154142)

They'll probably just blame Microsoft.

Does anybody read the articles anymore?? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 12 years ago | (#2132898)

This is about RSI, not the inability to learn a skill. !

Re:Does anybody read the articles anymore?? (1)

Solaris_Nexes (415148) | more than 12 years ago | (#2132051)

No, didn't you know that were all in a huge race to have the highest karma post - so we can shamelessly plug our online interests? I read them though...

Voice Recognition (1)

Root Down (208740) | more than 12 years ago | (#2134795)

I have to say that carpel tunnel (sp?) is tough to overcome, but this is a reporter who could easily be supplied with any number of voice recognition softwares available on the market and be able to perform his job. He is not left unable to perform critical tasks, nor even prevented from doing his job so long as his workplace is willing to provide the appropriate software. I have to agree with the judge, honestly.

Re:Voice Recognition (2)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 12 years ago | (#2132771)

Read the article - especially where it says the employer considered voice recognition (and other options) but then decided NOT to give those options to the reporter. Think about it again.

By the way, the reporter is a SHE, not a HE...

Re:Voice Recognition (2)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135936)

This is, in my humble legal opinion, a very bad decision. The majority ignores that the disability claimed (carpal tunnel syndrome) prevented her from performing in her chosen profession in the manner in which she used to perform, that is, by doing her own typing of stories. The majority instead looks to see if CTS affected her life activities as a whole, which I believe is an improperly broad test.

If this is the law, it means that if you are disabled in a way that affects your work, you as a worker are at risk of losing your job unless that same disability affects a substantial part of your entire life's activities. Bottom line - you had better be SERIOUSLY hurt or you are out of luck.

The ADA was enacted to make sure employers provided reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Letting the employer off the hook in this case, where the employer determined that accommodations were not available and most importantly, where the job was a substantial cause of the disability may be an exercise in legal reasoning, but it certainly isn't justice.

Re:Voice Recognition (1)

jamesoutlaw (87295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2158340)

I don't think so, buddy. The employer did make reasonable accommodations.. as described in the article. I think that this woman was looking to exploit a law that was designed to protect people with more serious disabilities that prevent them for performing _many_ jobs. Let's face it, the employment opportunities for people who are blind or deaf or confined to a wheel chair are seriously limited. This woman could find another job. Also, as you said, this was her chosen profession. Working in a particular job is not a right.

Well Duh! (0)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135091)

Typing is a skill, and almost anyone can learn to type.

It is like me applying for a job as a pilot, and not knowing how to fly a plane.

Well duh! (0, Flamebait)

sharkticon (312992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135092)

Jesus Christ, thank god they ruled against this reporter, because otherwise it opens the floodgates for a whole freakshow of losers claiming to be "disabled" and requiring special treatment to make up for the fact that they're either stupid or lazy.

"I can't type", "I can't read", "I can't add", well boo fucking hoo, get over it and get on with life. Not being able to type is hardly the end of the world, there are plenty of jobs out there that don't require constant typing.

Oh, and it's also only RSI! It's not even like she's had her fingers chopped off now is it? I know people in this country like to make every little thing into a medical conditions, but if this continues then sufferers of FALSE (Fat And Lazy SyndromE) will be clamoring for ADA protection and handouts.

Well done the court for once!

Re:Well duh! (2, Informative)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141107)

If you'd read the article, you'd have seen that reportedly 50% of jobs in the U.S. require daily interaction with a computer. And let me tell you, precious few of them are voice-activated :)

It's all well and good to say that you could just get a new job, but look at it the other way around: if you've trained your whole life (she worked there for 24 years) at a manual task, and become disabled at it, you can't just switch over to digging ditches. Would you be willing to throw away 24 years of your career and start fresh, competing against kids that just got out of college, because of a debilitating physical condition brought on by your employer?

I do have mixed feelings about this case, though, because I can't see that the employer could have done much differently. 24 years ago nobody knew about RSI or things like that; and apparently as soon as she let them know that she had a problem they provided some accomodations to help out. This is almost a case where nobody could really win, just because most of the damage was done before anyone could have known the harm that would result from her working circumstances.

I'm glad to see that the court didn't hold their initial attempts to help her out to be a recognition of a disability; like the article said, that would place employers in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation where they might be more likely to not do anything to help alleviate workplace health issues like this.

Other accommodations? (2, Interesting)

spiderlog (472336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135618)

The article listed a bunch of accommodations her employer obviously made to help this woman continue on in her job, so they probably aren't heartless bastards. Plus, just because you can't type doesn't mean you can't use some sort of voice recognition/dictation software in lieu of a keyboard.

I'm a wholehearted supporter of the ADA, but so many suits today are on the fringes of what the original legislation was supposed to protect. And, regardless of the fact that employers win over 90% of ADA related cases (many due to the "undue burden" clause), frivolous cases such as this only spawn more frivolous cases.

Do something else I guess... (1)

mystery_bowler (472698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139700)

Lawyer rabble aside, I think the judges got it right on this one. First of all, there is still plenty of dispute in the medical community on whether or not repetitive stress injuries are as severe as they are represented to be. Beside that point, simply being unable to type or write for extended periods of time does not make one unable to perform some productive task to earn a living. Granted, it does eliminate quite a few jobs from the list, but definitely not all of them.

As a developer, though, I have to say it would be a terrible blow to my career to lose the ability to type for extended periods of time. Who knows? I might have go into...consulting...or something.

Well of course not... (1)

Vain (195850) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139792)

Just because you can't type doesn'mt mean you're unable to operate a computer... Unless your arms have been completely severed off, Monty Python style.

But seriously... If you worked in the IS field and you ended up with CTS, thus requiring a surgery, and your physician said "If you ever type again you're going to be in the same situation." then it's time to find some good dictation software.

Could you imagine trying to dictate C/C++ or Perl though? lol. "No no no, I said left open bracket, no! NO! LEFT OPEN BRACKET! BACKSPACE BACKSPACE! LEFT OPEN BRACKET!"

Re:Well of course not... (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2158017)

it's actually not as funny as you may think, programmers DO work in standard programming languages like C or Perl with dictation software, it simply requires some customization of how things are recognized. Most, if not all VR software can be customized sufficiently to do coding.

furthermore (3, Insightful)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141337)

We basically have the defense attorney's side of the story. The story basically suggests that she became too much of a burden on the company (cost wise) and they fired her. What happens if the other side of the story is she came in 2 hours late, took a 3 hour lunch and left at 3:00 in the afternoon while hanging out at the coffee machine most of the day? I know it's a gross exaggeration, but where is the company's side? I posted earlier that I supported disability for this kind of issue, but I think there must be something more going on behind the scenes in this issue that we have not been told.

No kidding! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2147207)

Good decision, I say!

well... (2, Insightful)

NeoTomba (462540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2147235)

There go my chances to live out the American Dream.

Thinking about it now, I guess my plan to claim that I was a programmer who couldn't type was flawed from the start...

-NeoTomba

Re:well... (2, Offtopic)

LNO (180595) | more than 12 years ago | (#2115245)

No complaints about the post itself, but what sort of asinine moderator marks the First Post as "Redundant?"

Re:well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2118486)

I'm still trying to figure this one out myself...

Re:well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2131839)

yeah, now he`ll have to work for a living..there go his chances of making millions....

Re:well... (2, Informative)

su steve (306535) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154141)

As devastating as it must be to find that you can no longer type 120 WPM, every occupation has its hazards, heck, normal day to day life has them too. RSI is a well-known condition, but until a 'new' keyboard is developed which doesn't require such finger-wrist-contortion that's just life.

When did this 'shit-happens' -> 'let's sue' conversion of society (especially in the US) take place?
I know she lost her job, but she couldn't do it anymore. Footballers who get old get layed off, models who lose their looks loose their jobs, typists who can't type loose their jobs... life sucks, get over it.

Is typing-imparement a disability? I guess so, it's certainly a problem. However, if said disability was self-inflicted? She was using office equipment, but I'm sure they wouldn't have objected to her using her own keyboard if she had one that didn't cause her problems.

At the end of the day, this problem wouldn't have 'just happened', it would have got worse and worse. A doctor may well have advised her to change her vocation. To leave the problem to get to a critical stage without doing anything (other than change furniture) is just plain stupid.

I've got to stop typing now, my fingers are hurting; RSI as a programmer sucks, maybe I'll sue.

Re:well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2122161)

that's just life

Yeah, like those early industrial age workers who got injured on the job. Screw 'em, they're fired! "Disability", my ass! As soon as that 9-year-old girl gets her mangled hand out of the loom, she's outta here! Buncha deadbeats!

Re:well... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 12 years ago | (#2147404)

'especially in US' = ONLY in the US.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154437)

Is typing-imparement a disability?

Is spelling impairment a disability? Maybe you should file a claim.

LOOSE is an adjective, like you have LOOSE stools, your mother is a loose woman, etc.

LOSE is the verb you want.

Re:well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154255)

Yeah, they would never believe you were a programmer :)

Naturally... (1)

swordboy (472941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154051)

I wouldn't want one of these people working for me if I ran a large computer-centric firm. But then again, I don't want them using the handicapped spaces either. There has to be some intermediary. And where is gov't funding for voice recognition software? It is so close.

Re:Naturally... (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154222)

Why not? There's many programmers out there that use voice recognition for a substantial part of their coding. Marketing people can easily use voice recognition. Prehaps the only major roles that can't be adequately performed is QA and system administration work, and even those CAN be performed in the right enviorment.
You're throwing away good talent because they can't type for extended periods... that's just sad.

Re:Naturally... (1)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2139438)

Or you waste large amounts of company money just because someone makes a ridiculous claim. I'm sorry but if you are so "stressed" that you can't type, someone should be kind and beat your whining ass with a hammer. A person who can become so overwhelmed by stress that they can't type, was obviously unstable to begin with. If she lost her fingers in an accident.....sure get the Voice Recognition Software for her, if she's so "stressed" she can't type for long periods of time....get her the Pink Slip. My typing skills are horrible, why? because my fingers are to big to be placed in the proper spots on a normal keyboard, thats a real excuse for not being able to type fast (not for not being able to type for long periods of time though) but I wouldn't expect my boss to pay for VRS or a special keyboard. If I want these things I'll pay for and install them, not expect the company to. I do feel that VRS is great and should be more widely used, but in the end companies shouldn't be forced to buy it simply because of a whiny employee, she should go find employment where there is VRS if she wants it, not sue her employer by claiming a ridiculous disablity. It is my opinion that somewhere in life she got the idea tat she deserved having her every whim granted and when she decided she didn't want to type anymore (come on stress?) she expected her company to foot the bill. When they didn't she decided to show them by not doing her work, claiming disablity, and when she got fired for not doing her work (how dare they) she decided to sue. I'm sorry for going on a rant but I hate seeing bullshit cases like get attention, she should've been laughed out of the courtroom already.

Re:Naturally... (2, Informative)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2155143)

you could try something like learning that "Stress" doesn't reffer to EMOTIONAL stress in repetitive stress injury
it refers to stress put on the PHYSICAL components of the hands/wrists/arms, STRESS is what makes a stick break if you bend it enough.

Re:Naturally... (1)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2147405)

the article should have been more specific, if the woman had physical limitations it should have stated it more clearly. If they're talking abou CTS then she should have gotten the VRS. "Repetitive stress injury" is pretty confusing when repetitive stress in a reporting job could easily mean having to type articles on time often, and emotional problems are often referred to as "injuries", when there was no mention of CTS I simply assumed that they meant emotional injuries. My mistake if they meant physical.

Damm now I will have to learn (1)

mordorian (265914) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154079)

I guess there will be no more hunt and peck for me.

Amazing... (1)

Snowbeam (96416) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154089)

...these days everything that we would have consideredcommon sense just 10 years ago has to be clarified through the courts. What's next? Determining whether lunchtime starts at 12pm or a second after that?

Re:Amazing... (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2129940)

10 years ago we didn't have viable voice recognition software. Four years ago when this reporter was fired, we DID. The employer spent a bunch of money on chair and workstation modifications instead of spending it on voice recognition software.

6th Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154090)

I am so l337.

Re:6th Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2140347)

7th actually

So can we... (1)

swordboy (472941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154101)

Can we discriminate against them now? If so, then I need to learn how to type. As the saying goes: old hackers never die - they just learn to type.

Common Sense (4, Informative)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154102)

The dissenter said "the majority's ruling ignores the reality that computers and the ability to type and write are essential skills in the modern world."

But, the person in question _could_ type and write - just not fast and not for extended periods of time. A small minority of jobs require being able to type or write extensively.

Many fat middle aged Americans can't walk or run either fast or for an extended period of time, but they don't get away with disability allowance for that.

Re:Common Sense (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2158164)

Speaking as a fat, middle-aged American...you've just given me a great idea! ;)

Thank God (0, Offtopic)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154110)

I don't want any of the people like this [jinwicked.com] getting any more special privledges than they might already have.

Re:Thank God (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2138989)

ABSOLUTELY CLASSIC EXCHANGE!!!

I wish I could express just how frustrated I get at the (ASL how r u) morons online. With BBSes (and even IRC before mIRC -- nothing against mIRC) you had a good chance of filtering out the inbred-lame hicks. They might still be boring as luke-warm piss, but at least they had a brain and, along with that, genuine interests.

Now, online chatting is about as fun as watching a dog trying to sniff his own butt. Mostly because of people like sunnykc999. Problem is, even "ordinary" is pretty amazingly stupid. And have you looked at a graph of a bell curve lately? There are a hell of a lot more "ordinary" (stupid) people out there than anything else. And now, lucky for us, they are online, they "r looking for hot horny women with pic" and, to keep this on topic, they start demanding "rights" when they are unable to achieve what the rest of us have through hard work, dedication, and the dumb luck to have been born intelligent.

Aside: You ever notice that the unintelligent people have nothing even to talk about. Seriously. Nothing. Its all "ASL" and "You have a pic"? And, potentially, "You wanna meet?" Nothing else. No, "I listen to country music" or "I have a dog" or "I watch Friends." NOTHING. I suppose that this is just me being cruel. People without much intelligence might lead more boring, drab, bland, spoon-fed lives, but that doesn't make them any less human or deserving of dignity or respect. OK. I'll grant them that. But when they IM me out of the blue because they haven't even checked my profile to see I am a male (and they only are looking for sex...) I say FUCK 'EM!

Again, funny exchange on your webpage. It made me laugh. It made me wince. It made me annoyed. We should all do that.

people like that? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2157874)

Don't pick on him, he may have grown up in areas without lead paint laws.

This must be sad news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154119)

for Taco. He was hoping claim a combination grammatical/typo handicap.

Hrmm... (3, Interesting)

the_ph0x` (170740) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154166)

Someone loses their ability to work in their profession and, for most, participate in their hobby/mental exercise/what-have-you then they are disabled. How does this not apply to typing? Unless someone wants to get me a nerve implant right to my brain/spinal cord, Ima fight that if anything happens to my hands to where I can't type.

.ph0x

Why is this forum so one sided? (4, Funny)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154168)

Where are the people who are against this decision...?

oh wait.

Re:Why is this forum so one sided? (2, Funny)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 12 years ago | (#2132772)

K STrongtygyl objewtedfct to thhsis rruoling!!@!

Re:Why is this forum so one sided? (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 12 years ago | (#2134568)

I'd mod this up...but I have a modding disability.

lwjop wljfwl wlilll!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2158014)

fslj sk spwif fjjkhsf w wihkwu skww qw. lwlwkhjh klsk ldk wull dlelelw ielrnldl dlnjl l lweloif. wkll sdlhboe lwkr!!!!

I'm disappointed. (3, Funny)

sadcox (173714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154232)

I was hoping to use this ruling to force the NBA to let me play, even though I can't run, jump, dribble, or shoot.

Maybe... (1)

PoitNarf (160194) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154233)

if she learned to type and write with her feet? I've seen disabled people play arcade machines before with their feet. I suppose the keyboard would have to have larger keys so that the big toe doesn't hit 3 keys at once.

bias (3, Interesting)

jaredcat (223478) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154247)

Obviously the comments posted here will all be biased against the proposed new law. After all, you have to be able to type to post here, don't you? Most of the SlashDot readers type for a living anyway. That really limits those with an opposing view from being represented in this discussion.

Now imagine if one day you stopped being able to type... Its not impossible... Maybe you suffered nerve damage in your hands, or you lost a few fingers in a farming accident. There are lots of ways to gain this particular disability. You wouldn't be able to work, you wouldn't be able to play computer games, and you wouldn't be able to chat on IRC. Worst of all, you wouldn't be able to post comments about your plight on message boards like SlashDot that have no provisions for those suffering from this particular disability.

Re:bias (1)

alainygr (512586) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154734)

Totally right. Just try to feel what somebody who can't type feel.

Re:bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2155403)

Speech Recognition.

difference (1)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2158264)

I would have complete sympathy for someone who couldn't type because of PHYSICAL limitations, I think most people would. I have no sympathy for someone who can't type because of "stress". This woman did not suffer nerve damage, she suffered StupidLazyitus and decided the world should cater to her laziness. I know that if a programmer had his fingers cut off in an accident most employers would understand and get the VRS and most courts would award him the victory if he ended up getting fired for not being able to do his job. But if I was the boss and someone claimed not to be able to type for emotional reasons, I'd say "You have three days to either purchase and install your own VRS, get 'cured' by a psychiatrist or clean out your desk and get the hell out". It's nott hat we don't have sympathy for the disable, we just have no sympathy for pathetic whiners claiming BS disablities and thus undermining the real disabled people.

What type of repetitive motion disorder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154258)

I've had friends who have suffered from repetitive motion disorders in the past from things like poorly organized work areas that require awkward movement and about all it took to put them back right after that was a little rest and some physical therapy (AKA a handful of exercises). Surely the woman mentioned in this story can't be suffering the same type of disorder, otherwise it's even farther from being a disability. Oh well, I tried

Re:What type of repetitive motion disorder? (1)

Vain (195850) | more than 12 years ago | (#2131750)

Repetitive motion disorder? Does that mean I have to stop masturbating? I'd better be careful.

IANAL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154308)

but does this mean that Hemos is not handicapped?

A medical condition IS a disability (2, Insightful)

Langolier (470727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154438)

Unless employers are required to make reasonable accomodations for disabled employees, they will preferentially hire those with no disability. But many people with a minor disability can still be much more productive in their chosen profession than they would be doing some other work which their disability does not impact. By the government guaranteeing a level playing field (by prohibiting taking the disability into account, not by prohibiting choosing the person who is most qualified in all other regards, ignoring the disability), we allow people not to be blacklisted from their careers because of a disability that could be reasonably accomodated. Those who claim the free market will resolve this would say that the employee, who is less productive than employees without a disability, should be willing to work for less, but still earn more than they would outside their profession. But most large organizations have standard salary scales, and could not make special deals with everyone based on their perceived productivity. So the free market does not work in this case. People who liken the inability to type due to RSI to the inability to type due to laziness or stupidity are bad people. And the stupid should not be discriminated against either. Some people may have misunderstood the article - the employer provided some minimal accomodation (chairs, etc - these are just paying lip service to the need to prevent RSI), but refused to provide speech-to-text capability, saying it was an unreasonable accomodation. Or even worse, they claimed that the disability didn't fall under the ADA, and therefore they didn't even have to make reasonable accomodations.

BS (1)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154737)

You are disabled if you have no fingers to type with......not if "stress" has rendered you "unable" to type. This is just a type W case (Whiner), if this woman can not type because she is "stressed" she should see a psychiatrist (or come to me and for ten dollars I beat her with a hammer for an hour and a half). Being unable to type or write IS a disablity, and you should be able to sue your employer if, let's say, something at work falls on you and shatters your hands, preventing you from typing, and then they fire you because you can't do your job. Just because some woman doesn't want to work anymore and has decided that she won't (oops I mean "can't") type doesn't mean she should be able to sue her employer when they fire her for not being "able" to work. This is like me claiming I'm to stressed to lift boxes at one my summer jobs (where I lift boxes....yeah it sucks when your 17) and then suing when they fire me. The fact that this woman is emotionally "sensitive" (read unstable) doesn't impress me, and if I was her boss I would have fired her after one week of this nonsense. If you can't handle the stress of your job it is not your employers responsibility to pay you for doing nothing, quit and become a garbage collector (not trying to inslt garbage collectors) or construction worker (again, not saying they have no stress) or some low-stress job where not much is expected of you (Microsoft Programmer, yes I am trying to insult Microsoft).

Re:BS (1)

OpCode42 (253084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133689)

or come to me and for ten dollars I beat her with a hammer for an hour and a half

Hmmm... wouldn't that make her more stressed? :)

Re:BS (2, Informative)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2154296)

You don't get it, it's not emotional/mental stress, it's physical stress, the same thing that makes a stick break if you bend it enough. Typing for years on keyboards can cause Repetitive Stress Injury, this is where the repetitive nature of the task over long periods causes stress on the nerves, muscles, etc. in the hands wrists and arms.
RSI has also been seen in professions completely unrelated to computers, such as a person working in a factory doing the same thing for years, even a blacksmith making horseshoes for years could aquire RSI.

Re:BS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2154703)

Hey dumbass... repetitive stress disorder is not a mental condition. before posting, make sure you know what you are talking about and stop posting crap like this here

The court or the report may be wrong. (3, Informative)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2155066)

First, being a reporters is different from being a software developer. A reporter deals in a human language -- words are not as mutable as variable names. Blower is a old newspaper term describing a person who takes news reports over the phone and types them up.

Second, with an RSI, it does not only prevent one from using a keyboard, but when severe, you have problems sleeping (from the pain), and eating (because you keep droping things), or shopping, because your hand strength goes to almost nothing.

You also have to keep in mind that the ADA analysis is a fact specific test that is done on a case by case basis. There are circuits that ruled in one case that CTS is a disability, and in another ruled that it was not. This does not say if they also considered the state disability laws - which have a different standard for disability.

If she'd been blind... (3, Interesting)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2155166)

Consider, a blind person can dress him/herself, do laundry, make a bed, even shop in some cases. They cannot drive, of course, however they can get around by walking or bus. And in some cases, someone with carpal tunnel or similar may not be able to drive safely, as the pain it causes their wrists can be extreme.

There was one comment on slashdot recently about a man who owned a small computer company, who was completely blind, but walked around without a cane or any sort of guide, built, troubleshooted, took apart, added to, computers by touch, using brail or text-to-speech for interaction with the computers, etc.
However, if they had fired this reporter because she'd gone blind, she would likely have won without trouble.
Voice recognition is COMPLETELY viable, even in 1997 it was usable, esspecialy if the user had some use of their hands to allow for manual corrections when neccisary. All they would have had to do was spend a few hundred dollars on Dragon Naturally Speaking, and a few bucks on a microphone, and everything would have been fine.

Can't type!!?? (1)

moheeb (228831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2155451)

What if I prove to them that no one ever taught me to type. Could I sue too? I am severely handicapped in my job search.

Programming Languages fall into two categories (5, Funny)

ReelOddeeo (115880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157818)

Programming Languages fall into two categories:
  1. Languages designed by people who can type (i.e. Pascal, Modula2, Basic, Fortran)
  2. Languages designed by those who can't (C, Perl)

Not a general ruling.... (2)

kramer (19951) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157819)

Okay, well the ADA doesn't apply if the person is a reporter, because presumibly a reporter has many other tasks than simply typing stuff into the computer (research etc.) and could concievably simply write longhand and get someone to copy it. Therefore inability to type is not a substantial limitation.

Now reading the decision this appears to be a very narrowly constructed decison. The court doesn't appear to make any statements about typing ability in general, only in the specific case of this specific reporter.

That would presumibly leave open avenues of pursuit for other professions, programmers -- typists (are there any of these anymore?), keypunch operators, stenographers and whatnot.

Could be another scam thwarted... (1)

Solaris_Nexes (415148) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157963)

The 9th Circuit Court has ruled that not being able to type does not give one protection/privilege under the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA).

Like so many people out these always looking for a free dollar, I'm sure that there are more pressing issues being decided, such as:

not having the skill to type vs. not being physically able to type.

I personally think its more fair if it was a physical disability, but even in that case - why should anyone claim any expenses for using a computer? Judging how social services continues to be abused by people with nothing better to do than surf the web all day, giving these people more privileges, gives them the wrong idea.

She's an Ingrate! (4, Insightful)

JCMay (158033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2158165)

Let me get this straight...

She complains in 1994, so the paper buys her special office furniture to help. A few years later she complains and they give her an extended leave to recouperate. A few years later she complains again and the paper decides that they can't do anything else to help her so they let her go.

This is discriminatory? It seems to me that they bent over backwards to help her do her work. About the only thing they didn't do is inject painkillers directly into her wrists.

What are they supposed to do? They publish newspapers and are not in the healthcare business. Staff writers that, after that much accomodation, can't write are a liability.

Perhaps they should have made her do weight training excercises to prevent this kind of injury. Weight training has been shown to increase bone density, muscle mass and tone, joint stability and more. Face it: the human body was not designed for desk work.

Re:She's an Ingrate! (3, Insightful)

L41N14L (205602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2115242)

I'd have to agree. My sympathy for this woman vanished as soon as it said that she'd sued for discrimination. It sounds like the newspaper did everything they could for her (including trying to reassign her), and then let her go when it became clear that she couldn't do the job. It seems like the only way they could avoid being sued would be to pay her a salary for doing nothing.

While it's clearly important that employers do as much as they can to support employees with disadvantages, such as this woman, there comes a point when they simply can't do the job any more. It's not their fault, but at the same time, it's not the employer's fault, and they certainly don't deserve to be taken to court over it.

I've seen companies bend over backwards to accommodate workers with disabilities. But at the end of the day, they need employees who can produce for them. It sucks, but there are some jobs that physically can't be done by some people. I for instance can't juggle, so I don't work in a circus.

Re:She's an Ingrate! (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137799)

what are they supposed to do? buy Dragon Naturally Speaking
if they'd truely evaluated it in 1997, they would have come to the conclusion that she could continue to do her job with assistance from software and a microphone
they didn't evaluate anything, they just decided they wanted to get her off their hands

hmm... article reads kinda funny.. (1)

TechnoVooDooDaddy (470187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2158169)

In 1997, the company contemplated voice recognition technology and reassignment as alternatives but ultimately concluded they were not viable. Thornton received a letter terminating her.

I do hope they ment terminating her employment, otherwise there's an entirely different matter at hand... can you say LOGAN'S RUN!?

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