ACLU Statement on DOJ Withdrawal of Disabilities Guidance

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice rescinded guidance on a key disability rights law yesterday, which required states to promote access to competitive, integrated employment opportunities.

The guidance applied the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) integration mandate and the Supreme Court's landmark Olmstead v. L.C. decision on employment services for people with disabilities. It was integral to helping people with disabilities move from isolated workshops, where they are often paid much less than minimum wage and are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Susan Mizner, disability counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, had this reaction:

“Rescinding this guidance demonstrates a reprehensible disregard for the rights of people with disabilities on the part of the Department of Justice. People with disabilities deserve the same opportunity to live and work in the mainstream of community life. This guidance affirmed, as one U.S. attorney said, that ‘we are better, stronger, when all of us—all of us—are interwoven in the fabric that is [our state].’ Once again, this administration places itself on the wrong side of history.

“Withdrawing this guidance does not change the legal responsibilities of state and local governments. States must still comply with the ADA, and must still promote integrated employment for people with disabilities. If the Justice Department won’t do its job, the disability rights community will. The ACLU will continue to remind employers of the law, states of their obligations, and people with disabilities that we are all worthy of being part of our country and our workforce.”

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