When Workers Just Can't Cope

New rulings clarify what employers should and shouldn't do

In 1997, Dorene Sherman was suffering from manic depression, making it difficult to carry out her duties as director of before- and after-school programs at the Calvary Christian School in Toledo. Sherman's illness often made her suicidal, impaired her speech, and forced her into the hospital for up to two weeks at a time. Her employer, a private religious school, gave her a flexible schedule, allowed her to take breaks during the day, and, when she felt stressed out, let her hole up in her office away from the children and other staff members. When things became unbearable, Sherman, then 34, would take a day off. "It was difficult at times, and I could tell it was stressful on them when I was in the hospital, but they always did their best to make it work," says Sherman, who left the job last year when she moved away from Toledo.

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