Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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You do have what is called a prima facie case of discrimination. That is to say you are a disabled employee, you are able to to d the essential elements of the position, and you are apparently far more qualified than the person who got the position. It would then be up to the employer to offer a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for your lack of hire into that position. It's not at all clear to me that the employer's reason of "direct experience" is at all legitimate in this instance to constitute a legitimate non-discriminatory reason to defend the employer from the charge. I suspect it is not and you could have a case of disability discrimination, but there is a lot of factual detail in determining what is a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the employer's defense of the matter (including an analysis of the job and the prospects backgrounds).
What I would recommend is that you file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) to investigate a charge of disability discrimination (and specifically whether the employer's rationale is non-discriminatory). The EEOC will investigate the employer to attempt to discover if this reasoning is legitimate and/or non-discriminatory. If they find an issue they'll attempt to resolve the matter between the parties, and bring charges against the employer if necessary. They do this all at no charge to yourself. If this sounds like something that interests you, then you can learn how to file a charge at the EEOC's website here.
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