According to an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Hanan Center, a physical therapy clinic, and the McInnis Recycling Center has participated in violations of federal laws and regulations against 80 respective employees with disabilities.
These companies failed to ensure that these employees, whom they paid less than the minimum wage of $7.25/hr, received career counseling and other services that would have promoted them to seek better job opportunities as demanded by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
The investigation also found that these workers had 30 minutes deducted from their time whether they took a meal break or not and that the companies failed to maintain certain required records of hours worked.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all workers receive the wages legally due to them and to protecting workers with disabilities from exploitation in the workplace,” Wage and Hour District Director Kenneth Stripling in Birmingham said in the news release. “We will continue to provide education and tools to employers to help them understand their responsibilities and how to comply with the law.”
As a result of these violations, the Montgomery Arc, a part of a national organization that promotes the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their inclusion and participation in their communities, and two subsidiaries will pay $541,597 in back wages to those employees.
Dakota Layton graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He is currently enrolled at the University of Mississippi where he is working to earn his Master of Arts in Philosophy.