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Defining the disabled: public policy in the workplace

A very recent set of U.S. Supreme Court rulings has once again upended the already elusive understanding of the word “disability” when applied to employee sin the workplace or applicants seeking employment. With over thirty years of shifting Federal and state legislation, our understanding of what the “disability concept” means remains clouded. To further cloud the definition, California law and Federal law currently appear to reflect different concepts of public policy onemployers (among others) that have important and different implications. Unsettled by shifting court decisions, disabled individuals remain perplexed about public policy regarding the”“disabled” and their ability to access employment opportunities and successfully compete in the workplace.

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