National Federation of the Blind Releases Analysis of Section 511

Aug 14, 2013, 11:57 ET from National Federation of the Blind

Former DOJ Official Says Proposal is "Stunning Step Backward," Undermines Olmstead

BALTIMORE, Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind today released a legal analysis prepared at the organization's request by Samuel R. Bagenstos, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School and former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Justice, regarding the proposed Section 511 of Title V of the Rehabilitation Act included in the Workforce Investment Act reauthorization bill.  The report, entitled "Section 511 is Not a Step Forward," concludes that the provision "entrenches sheltered workshops and the subminimum wage—and for the first time recognizes them as acceptable under the rights provisions of the Rehabilitation Act, our Nation's first disability rights law.  This is a stunning step backwards."


Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "Professor Bagenstos's trenchant analysis confirms our conviction that Section 511 will not prevent young people from being tracked into subminimum-wage employment.  Worse yet, as this analysis shows, Section 511 will actually undermine efforts to enforce the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with respect to employment, through the landmark Supreme Court case of Olmstead v. L.C.  At a time when the Department of Justice is seeking to prevent the segregation and exploitation of Americans with disabilities in sheltered, subminimum-wage employment, Section 511 would make such employment part of the Rehabilitation Act, the nation's first disability rights law.  The National Federation of the Blind and our partners are fighting to have this harmful provision removed from the proposed Workforce Investment Act.  We call upon all Americans who are concerned about the future for young people and other Americans with disabilities to join us in this fight." 

The Workforce Investment Act (S. 1356) was recently reported favorably by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 

About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest, largest, and most influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United States.  Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for the civil rights and equality of blind Americans, and develops innovative education, technology, and training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision with the tools they need to become independent and successful.  We need your support.  To make a donation, please go to

SOURCE National Federation of the Blind