Those Lost But Not Forgotten: Applicants with Severe Disabilities, Title I of the ADA, and Retail Corporations

Throughout American history, individuals with severe disabilities have been seen as “inauthentic workers,” thereby automatically denied consideration in employment opportunities.  With the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) Congress sought to eliminate the misconceptions prevalent among employers. Unfortunately, congressional intentions have fallen short and biases continue to be widespread.  Even though the issue endures, many question the importance of finding employment for individuals with disabilities—let alone those with severe disabilities—when injustices exist in so many areas of their lives.  However, working is significant because it provides individuals with severe disabilities a sense of self worth and independence, while making them feel valued in the community.  It is this combination of factors which makes finding and creating employment opportunities essential. Aptly stated: “[n]ot working is perhaps the truest definition of what it means to be disabled.”

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