Department of Labor, Disability Rights Network partner to protect workers with disabilities

Americas, December 21 2015

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) have entered into an agreement to help protect the rights of workers with disabilities.

The agreement concerns Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act which permits employers to pay wages less than the federal minimum wage, after receipt of a certificate from the Department of Labor, to individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impacted by a physical or mental disability for the work that is to be performed. NDRN, made up of the nationwide network of Protection and Advocacy agencies, has for years investigated instances of abuse and exploitation of workers with disabilities by employers, including employers who hold 14(c) certificates.

Ensuring proper implementation, oversight, and enforcement of the section 14(c) subminimum wage program is a key component to protecting the rights and preventing the exploitation of workers with disabilities.

The agreement demonstrates the commitment of the WHD, NDRN and P&A agencies to protect the rights of workers with disabilities. The agreement:

  • Improves the sharing of information between NDRN, the P&As and the Wage and Hour Division on potential violations of subminimum wage certificates by employers;
  • Utilizes the resources, knowledge, and expertise of the P&As on disability issues in each particular jurisdiction, such as locations of suspected wage and hour violations.
  • Supports exchanging information about the laws and regulations of common concern to NDRN, the P&As, and the Wage and Hour Division.

“NDRN is pleased to enter into this agreement with the Wage and Hour Division to achieve our joint goal of protecting the rights of workers with disabilities,” said Curt Decker, NDRN executive director.  “NDRN believes that by utilizing the resources, expertize, and federal mandate of the P&A system to protect and advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities, employers who fail to adhere to the requirements of the section 14(c) certificates will be more readily discovered.”

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