The United States Department of Justice has reissued guidance explaining how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employment and day services within state and local governments. The guidance was issued by the Department’s Civil Rights Division to clearly define state and local governments’ nondiscrimination obligations, as well as to help people with disabilities understand their rights under federal law.
This guidance was originally issued when by Brown, Goldstein & Levy partner Eve Hill worked in the leadership of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. While the Trump administration rescinded the guidance, this reissuance brings greater accountability to state and local governments for providing quality, integrated workforce opportunities to people with disabilities.
A significant number of people with disabilities across the United States receive public services in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs. In these segregated environments, people with disabilities often have little opportunity to interact with people without disabilities. Additionally, work in these settings often provides little to no advancement opportunity and largely involves performing regimented and repetitive manual tasks for below minimum wages. The guidance states that “when people with disabilities are given access to supported employment services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, they have the opportunity to live fuller lives, be more integrated into the community, and gain financial independence.”
Further, state and local governments that fail to provide services in appropriate integrated settings are violating Title II of the ADA. The guidance includes an overview of the ADA and its integration mandate, as well as an overview of employment and day services often offered to people with disabilities. It also explains how the ADA applies to each of these systems. Read the full guidance here.
Eve Hill is one of the nation’s leading civil rights lawyers, known especially for her work with clients with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ clients. An issue extremely close to Hill’s heart is unjust working conditions for people with disabilities – an issue on which she has worked for over half of her legal career. She has advocated for an end to Section 14c of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows the Department of Labor to issue certificates for employers to be able to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage, currently negatively impacting 50,000 people with disabilities.
Eve was recently celebrated as the 2023 the 2023 Distinguished Honoree at the TASH Outstanding Leadership in Disability Law Symposium & Award Celebration for her work in this field. From 2011 to January 2017, Eve served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, where she was responsible for oversight of the Division’s disability rights, education, and Title VI enforcement and the American Indian Working Group.
Founded in 1982, Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a law firm based in Baltimore, Maryland, with an office in Washington, DC. The firm is nationally recognized in a wide variety of practice areas, including complex civil and commercial litigation, civil rights, health care, family law, and criminal defense. Above all else, Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a client-centered law firm that brings decades of experience and passionate, effective advocacy to your fight for justice.