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When Will the Madness End?

Another court case involving sub-minimum wage found in favor of the petitioner!  A Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge found Ralph Magers, Pam Steward and Mark Felton had been wrongly paid under the special 14 C section allowing sub-minimum wages paid to disabled workers by Seneca Re-AD Industries (Respondent).  The crux of the issues is that just because a person has a disability doesn’t qualify them to be paid less than minimum wage.  Unfortunately I believe most programs still utilizing this certificate do exactly what Seneca Industries does and that is the problem and why the law needs to be eliminated.  More information at: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/02/05/judge-back-pay-workshop/21876/

I have mentioned in previous blogs why Morningside has chosen to not continue this practice.

From January 31 2014:

Finally, we are also not going to renew our sub-minimum wage certificate.  This is a special certificate issued by the US Department of Labor that allows paying less than minimum wage to individuals with disabilities.  [I wrote about how this law has been abused as highlighted by a US DOL case against a farm in Iowa a couple of years ago.]  The disability community has been advocating the elimination of this sub-minimum wage program and I agree with them!

From February 2014 which included excerpts from a blog entitled “Value and Worth”

In my February Blog entitled Value and Worth I shared an article by Anil Lewis, who is blind.  He wrote an eloquent piece why we should end paying individuals with disabilities below minimum wage.

Mr. Lewis wrote in part: “Compassionate discrimination, like other types of discrimination, springs from ignorance, and deprives us all of the value each person and group of people has to offer. But unlike the abusive treatment of slaves resulting from racial discrimination, and unlike the chauvinistic treatment of women resulting from gender discrimination, compassionate discrimination is cloaked in sympathy and good intentions.

In 1938, policymakers, acting on a laudable desire to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce, made a huge mistake when they enacted Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/14c/. That provision that authorizes the U.S. Department of Labor to issue Special Wage Certificates to employers, permitting them to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. As a result of the erroneous belief, commonly held in 1938 but long since disproved, that people with disabilities cannot be productive employees, employers are permitted to pay workers with disabilities subminimum wages that are supposedly based on our productivity. This denial of fundamental wage protections to workers with disabilities, although masked as a compassionate offering of a work opportunity that would otherwise not be available, leaves over 300,000 people with disabilities employed at subminimum wages, some as low as three cents per hour.

A person with a disability is not less valuable than any other person,

In order to implement a real solution to the unemployment problem, we must remove the mask of compassion from the discrimination we face. We must eliminate the “separate but equal” environments and we must repeal the discriminatory policies that are founded on the flawed assertion of incapacity.

We are not broken.”

The heart of the matter is justice.  We believe that section 14(c) is wrong.  What is fair, what is right is that individuals should be working in regular jobs in the community.

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CEO Viewpoint is published by Jim Larson, CEO Morningside

This space is intended to share my thoughts and update the community on issues concerning Morningside and its clients as well sharing inspirational employment stories.

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Posted in Minimum Wage