News Archive

Aug 1, 2019

Workers with Disabilities Sue For Fair Wages


The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are three current and former employees of Adelante, working in the document destruction and document imaging departments.  Over the course of their employment, they were paid as little as $3.00 per hour.  According to documentation submitted by Adelante to the federal government, some of its employees were paid as little as $0.18 per hour.

Under a special provision of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, companies can request permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay disabled employees less than the federal minimum wage, or a "subminimum wage."  However, such companies must still comply with any state requirements regarding paying such subminimum wages.  In New Mexico, the Department of Workforce Solutions is charged with issuing permits approving the payment of subminimum wages.  Adelante never obtained approval from the Department of Workforce Solutions to pay subminimum wages, and therefore did not have permission to pay any of its employees less than the minimum wage.

DRNM filed the lawsuit in conjunction with non-profit organizations Towards Justice of Denver, Colorado, and Public Justice of Washington, D.C.; and the Milstein Law Office of Boulder, Colorado.  The complaint is captioned Tammy Duggan, et al., v. Adelante Development Center, Inc., and is filed in the Second Judicial District Court of New Mexico.  A copy of the Complaint can be found at this link: click here.

For more information on the lawsuit, see these news stories:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-12/disabled-workers-sue-oscars-swag-bag-company-for-discrimination

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/workers-with-disabilities-sue-albuquerque-company-over-wages/article

For more information on Subminimum Wages generally, see here:

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lower-pay-for-disabled-new-mexico-workers-raises-fairness-issues/article

https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/05/the-injustice-of-disability-based-subminimum-wages

 

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