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A federal judge has ruled that Henry’s Turkey Service must pay $1.3 million for the exploitation of mentally disabled men who worked for the company in Iowa.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle represents the third million-dollar judgment against the company that over a period of 40 years sent hundreds of disabled men from Texas to Iowa where they worked in a meat-processing plant for 41 cents an hour.

Read Disabilility Rights Advocates press release here:
NY Times: Suit May Go On in Disaster Plan for the Disabled
November 8, 2012

A judge has agreed to allow a class-action lawsuit to proceed against New York City alleging a systemic failure in addressing the needs of the disabled population in planning for emergencies and disasters.

The lawsuit was filed last year after Tropical Storm Irene; the lawyers have contended that there were significant gaps in the city’s plans to accommodate people with disabilities at city shelters or to evacuate them from high rises, among other claims.

New York State Announces Public Engagement Process to Obtain Input on the Creation of an Olmstead Implementation Plan

The State has confirmed dates for the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council’s public engagement process to solicit feedback on an Olmstead Implementation Plan.  Upcoming events include a statewide video conference on September 28th and a hearing on October 2nd.

The New York State Olmstead Implementation Plan will include goals, strategies, performance measures, baseline data and quantifiable targets related to services that will assist individuals with disabilities and seniors to live in the most integrated community settings.  Specific areas covered in the plan will include access to: integrated housing, integrated employment, transportation and community services.  The plan will also contain information on assessment of needs, transition to community settings and diversion from institutional settings.

Feedback on the New York State Olmstead Plan can be provided in a number of ways: video conference, public hearing, community focus groups and on-line comments.

See the Executive's media advisory linked below for more information, including the schedule of public events, starting as early as next week:

August 23 - Today, the National Council on Disability (NCD) – an independent federal agency – released a report calling for the phase-out of a provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act, known as the 14(c) program, that allows employers who receive a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor, to pay less than federal minimum wage to workers with disabilities for work performed.

The central theme of the recommendations in the report is the gradual phase-out of the 14(c) program, and accompanying systems change to enhance existing resources and create new mechanisms for supporting individuals in securing integrated employment. The net outcome of implementing these recommendations to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities in line with the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act for equality of opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and full participation in all aspects of society.

NCD recognizes that these recommendations impact thousands of individuals and their families. NCD further recognizes that it will take support from many stakeholders to eliminate the discriminatory practices of the 14(c) program and build a sustainable supported employment infrastructure along with other supports.

This fall, as a step toward accomplishing these goals and to create momentum for the system change that is necessary, NCD plans to draft proposed legislation.

The full report is available on NCD’s website at:

http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/August232012/

Published: Monday, July 02, 2012, 8:54 PM     Updated: Monday, July 02, 2012, 8:54 PM
Michelle Cole, The Oregonian

SALEM -- The United States Department of Justice is warning Oregon to help people with intellectual or physical disabilities find jobs in the community or the federal government will go to court and force the state to do it.

Following a nine-month investigation, the Justice Department sent a 20-page letter to the Oregon attorney general late last week outlining its problems with state programs offering employment and vocational services for disabled workers.

Bottom line: Too many in Oregon are forced to work sub-minimum-wage jobs doing rote tasks in what are called "sheltered workshops."