Saturday, July 07, 2012

DOJ Finds Oregon's Reliance on Sheltered Workshops Violates Olmstead

The big news while I was in hiding:  The U.S. Department of Justice issued a letter finding that the State of Oregon "is failing to provide employment and vocational services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, in violation of the ADA," because the state "plans, structures, and administers its system of providing employment and vocational services in a manner that delivers such services primarily in segregated sheltered workshops, rather than in integrated community employment."

The Oregonian explains what it all means, in an article that begins:
The United States Department of Justice is warning Oregon to help people with intellectual or physical disabilities find jobs in the community or the federal government will go to court and force the state to do it.

Following a nine-month investigation, the Justice Department sent a 20-page letter to the Oregon attorney general late last week outlining its problems with state programs offering employment and vocational services for disabled workers.

Bottom line: Too many in Oregon are forced to work sub-minimum-wage jobs doing rote tasks in what are called "sheltered workshops."
As readers of this blog know, Oregon's heavy reliance on sheltered workshops is the subject of ongoing private Olmstead litigation, in which the Department of Justice had already filed a brief.


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