National Federation of the Blind Applauds Ruling Requiring Equal Pay for Disabled Workers

Sep 20, 2012, 17:25 ET from National Federation of the Blind

$1.3 Million in Back Pay and Other Damages Awarded

BALTIMORE, Sept. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind, the nation's leading advocate for fair wages for workers with disabilities, today applauded a recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Davenport Division, finding that a turkey processing service violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by paying its disabled employees less than federal and state minimum wages.  The ruling in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Hill Country Farms, Inc. d/b/a Henry's Turkey Services (Case number: No. 3-11-cv-41-CRW-TJS) found that the defendant had "engaged in unlawful and discriminatory pay practices in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act," and awarded the workers $1.3 million in back pay and other damages.


Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "We have long contended that the antiquated practice of paying workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage is discriminatory and out of step with the enlightened view of the capacity of workers with disabilities reflected in statutes like the Americans with Disabilities Act.  For this reason, we are calling for the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which, based on the fallacy that workers with disabilities are not productive, authorizes the payment of subminimum wages to workers with disabilities.  This ruling, in a case with facts that ought to shock the conscience of every American, makes it clear that a labor practice dating from the 1930s is fundamentally irreconcilable with modern laws prohibiting discrimination against workers with disabilities.  We hope that the United States Congress will soon update the nation's statutes by phasing out Section 14(c) so that no employer can ever again engage in such unconscionable discrimination."

About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.  It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind.  In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind. 

SOURCE National Federation of the Blind