[Nfbnet-members-list] Fw: Disability Rights Ohio, National Federation of the Blind, and Autistic Self Advocacy Network Celebrate Landmark Decision Ordering Fair Pay from Sheltered Workshop

Kuhnke, Kristian KKuhnke at nfb.org
Thu Feb 4 03:05:39 UTC 2016


Media Contacts:

Stacy Brannan-Smith

Communications Specialist

Disability Rights Ohio

800-282-9181, ext. 101

<mailto:sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org>sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org

Chris Danielsen

Direction of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

410-659-9314, ext. 2330

<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org

Samantha Crane, J.D.

Legal Director, Director of Public Policy

Autistic Self Advocacy Network


<mailto:scrane at autisticadvocacy.org>scrane at autisticadvocacy.org

  Disability Rights Ohio, National Federation of 
the Blind, and Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Celebrate Landmark Decision Ordering Fair Pay from Sheltered Workshop

February 3, 2016

opinion issued by an administrative law judge 
from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), three 
clients have been awarded minimum wage going 
forward and back pay from Seneca Re-Ad, a 
sheltered workshop run by the Seneca County Board 
of Developmental Disabilities. 
original petition was filed by 
Rights Ohio (DRO), the <https://nfb.org/>National 
Federation of the Blind, the 
<http://autisticadvocacy.org/>Autistic Self 
Advocacy Network, and the Baltimore law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP.

Joe Magers, Pam Steward, and Mark Felton had been 
paid an average of $2.50 an hour for more than 
three years and are among the first workers with 
disabilities ever to invoke the petition process 
to seek a review of their wages by the USDOL. The 
administrative law judge found that Seneca Re-Ad 
has not proven that the petitioners’ 
disabilities keep them from accomplishing the 
work. Further, the decision holds that their 
wages have not been calculated correctly. 
Therefore, Seneca must pay at least the minimum wage.

“The opinion highlights that each of our 
clients brings valuable employment skills to the 
Seneca Re-Ad facility, and their value as workers 
should be respected,” says DRO Attorney Barbara 
Corner. “People with disabilities are full and 
equal members of society and should be paid fairly.”

"Many people are shocked when they find out that 
it is legal to pay people with disabilities less 
than minimum wage," said Samantha Crane, Legal 
Director and Director of Public Policy at ASAN. 
"But what's even more surprising is how rare this 
type of enforcement action has been until now. We 
hope this decision puts other workshops on notice 
that they won't get away with this sort of exploitation."

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: "This decision 
cuts through the low expectations based on 
stereotypes and misconceptions that undergird the 
antiquated and discriminatory subminimum-wage 
employment model. The National Federation of the 
Blind is proud of our role in helping these 
workers to earn compensation that reflects the 
skilled work that they perform. We believe that 
this decision sends a strong signal that 
subminimum wages are an idea whose time has long since passed."


About Disability Rights Ohio: Disability Rights 
Ohio is the federally and state designated 
Protection and Advocacy System and Client 
Assistance Program for the state of Ohio. The 
mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to advocate 
for the human, civil and legal rights of people 
with disabilities in Ohio. Disability Rights Ohio 
provides legal advocacy and rights protection to 
a wide range of people with disabilities.

About the National Federation of the Blind: The 
National Federation of the Blind knows that 
blindness is not the characteristic that defines 
you or your future. Every day we raise the 
expectations of blind people, because low 
expectations create obstacles between blind 
people and our dreams. You can live the life you 
want; blindness is not what holds you back.

About the Autistic Self Advocacy Network: The 
Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a 
national, private, nonprofit organization, run by 
and for individuals on the autism spectrum. ASAN 
provides public education and promotes public 
policies that benefit autistic individuals and 
others with developmental or other disabilities. 
Its advocacy activities include combating stigma, 
discrimination, and violence against autistic 
people and others with disabilities; promoting 
access to employment, health care and long-term 
supports in integrated community settings; and 
educating the public about the access needs of 
autistic people. ASAN takes a strong interest in 
cases that affect the rights of autistic 
individuals to participate fully in community 
life and enjoy the same rights as others without disabilities.

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