Underpayment of Disabled Workers

 In Employment Law

An increasing number of disabled workers are not being adequately paid by companies. Several nonprofits were recently cited for failure to properly pay workers with disabilities. This situation is even more complicated because federal law creates environments in which companies are able to provide disabled workers with less compensation than other workers. Current laws allow employers to pay less than $1 per hour to workers with disabilities if they are unable to perform a job  at the same level as a person who is not disabled. Even more surprisingly, this loophole has existed for over 80 years and employers continue to exploit this exemption today. If you are one of the 153,050 workers in the United States with a disability  who is paid less than minimum wage under federal laws, do not hesitate to contact a seasoned employment attorney.

The Process that Created This Perspective

This exemption was created because it was believed that reducing the required amount of payment would help disabled people find meaningful work. The prevailing attitude at the time, however, was that disabled people could not perform at the same level of others. As a result, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 allowed companies to pay disabled workers less than the minimum required amount. This attitude, however, has changed significantly. An increasing number of legislators have begun to create laws that recognize disabled people can lead independent lives and do not require segregation from other types of workers. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits employers from discriminating against workers who have disabilities. While these changes have marked a significant step forward in the rights of disabled individuals, the loophole created by this 1938 Act still exists, which creates a substantial obstacle for disabled individuals.

How Companies Utilize These Laws

To pay a disabled worker less than a minimum wage, a company must first obtain permission from the Department of Labor. This permission is only granted if the company can demonstrate that a worker’s disability would prevent the person from being hired at minimum wage. To prove this point, companies rely on one of several arguments. Most often, companies compare a worker’s speed at competing tasks to how a person without a disability would function. There are numerous cases in which employers have manipulated these details regarding workers. Sometimes, employers hide relevant information from companies or even workers with gift cards rather than wages.

Obtain the Services of a Skilled Employment Lawyer

Disabled workers are often capable of living independent lives and performing at the same level as other workers, which is why in many cases, these 1938 laws have become outdated. If you are a worker who believes that he or she has been wrongfully underpaid, do not hesitate to contact Herrmann Law. Our law firm has helped a number of employees pursue actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and we know what it takes to make sure that your case resolves in a positive manner.

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