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Justin Salisbury from the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania and Robin Lipp of Berney & Sang Courtesy photo Justin Salisbury from the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania and Robin Lipp of Berney & Sang Courtesy photo

The 30th anniversary of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a good time to reflect on progress toward ending discrimination against people with disabilities. But it is also a moment to face the distance we have yet to go. While Title I of the ADA bans many employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of their disabilities, another federal statute allows employers to discriminate against employees with disabilities by paying them lower wages, including wages below the federal minimum wage. That statute is Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 214(c). It has spurred unconscionable business practices at the expense of adults with disabilities. Now, 30 years after the ADA, the time has come to repeal Section 14(c).

This article is a collaboration between two authors—an attorney whose practice includes disability rights and an advocate for the rights of blind people who has witnessed Section 14(c)’s role in perpetuating injustice.

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