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Strings Attached

The Power of the Federal Purse Waives State Sovereign Immunity from the Rehabilitation Act

By Rochelle Bobroff & Harper Jean Tobin

After years as, essentially, a sidekick to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act has become the sole avenue for obtaining damages from state employers for employment discrimination based on disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act is valuable for obtaining damages from states in the context of public programs and services. Particularly in light of recent cases holding that state sovereign immunity does not limit the relevance of the Rehabilitation Act, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of using the Rehabilitation Act to sue state entities is key to obtaining damages for clients with disabilities.

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