(Lane v. Brown was formerly known as Lane v. Kitzhaber.)
DRO is involved in the first U.S. class action lawsuit to challenge sheltered workshops that pay subminimum wages to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in segregated environments. A proposed Settlement Agreement was announced September 8, 2015. The proposed Settlement Agreement is subject to review and approval by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart.
Press Release 09-08-15 (.doc)
Press Release 09-08-15 (.pdf)
Advocates for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court on January 25, 2012 challenging Oregon’s failure to provide supported employment services to more than 2,300 state residents who are segregated in sheltered workshops where they perform mundane tasks, such as folding UPS bags. The lawsuit charges state officials with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by confining individuals with disabilities to segregated settings where they have little – if any – interaction with non-disabled peers. Moreover, they are paid far below the state’s minimum wage of $8.80 for doing rote tasks that offer no training, no skills, and no advancement.
The Center for Public Representation’s page on Lane v. Brown
Miller Nash’s original press release.
Read all of our coverage about Lane v. Brown.
Lawsuit led to regular jobs for people with disabilities (Bend Bulletin, 09/24/15)
At age 43, Joseph Krassow is about a year into his first job with a private, for-profit enterprise.
He spends two mornings a week doing clerical and light janitorial tasks for Barrett Business Services Inc., a back-office support company on the west side of Bend.
Krassow has autism, and he said the job is a good fit with his talents, which include organization and math. He enjoys it, too. “We have a pleasant staff here,” he said, while alphabetizing a file drawer.
Disability-rights advocates say many people like Krassow wouldn’t have a competitive wage job if it weren’t for new requirements brought about by a 2012 class-action lawsuit against the state of Oregon over violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Reducing Oregon’s Reliance On Sheltered Workshops (OPB, 09/11/15): Audio interview with Bob Joondeph includes transcript
Our expectation is that as that choice becomes real and the services are better, that more and more people will choose the community option. Then it really sets up a true competitive situation in which some people may continue to choose segregated employment. But we expect that more and more people will, as they see their peers succeed and making more money, that they will be attracted to that option.
Legal Settlement for People with Intellectual Disabilities Opens Door for Real Jobs (The Lund Report, 09/10/15)
“You’ll see people in workshops for years who never got a chance to do competitive work who will thrive in it,” said Bob Joondeph, the director of Disability Rights Oregon, one of the chief plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
An intermediate goal will reduce the number of people employed in workshops from 1,925 to 1,530 by 2017.
The shift marks the most dramatic policy change for Oregonians with intellectual disabilities since the closing of Fairview Training Center, which freed thousands of Oregonians from a lifetime in an institution. The agreement aims to end daytime institutionalization, providing meaningful opportunities to join the regular labor force and leave segregated workshops where people toil at menial jobs for trivial pay — again bending the arc of history toward justice for this group of Oregonians.”
Oregon’s sheltered workshops for the disabled to be phased out under terms of settlement (Oregonian, 09/08/15)
Settlement Calls For Cuts To Sheltered Workshops (Disability Scoop, 09/09/15)
Over 1,000 people with developmental disabilities will be able to leave sheltered workshops for competitive employment under a proposed settlement in a first-of-its-kind class-action lawsuit.
Gov. Kate Brown, Plaintiffs Announce Settlement of Long-Running Disability Rights Lawsuit (Willamette Week, 09/08/15)
DOJ Deal Resolves Row Over Ore. Disabled Worker Practices (Law 360, 09/09/15)
Oregon settles lawsuit alleging mistreatment of disabled workers (Portland Business Journal, 09/08/15)
State Reaches Settlement for Lane V. Brown (Go Local PDX, 09/08/15)
Oregon to improve work settings for disabled in lawsuit settlement (The Register-Guard, 09/09/15)
Oregon, disabled workers end suit (Statesman Journal, 09/08/15)
Oregon Agrees to Improve Work Settings for the Disabled (KDRV, 09/09/15)
Making the law pay (Willamette Week, 05/20/15)
Portland judge sanctions state in lawsuit over job opportunities for severely disabled Oregonians (The Oregonian, 05/11/15)
Kitzhaber orders shift from sheltered workshops for people with disabilities (The Oregonian, 4/11/13)
U.S. Department of Justice accuses Oregon of segregating disabled in sheltered workshops (The Oregonian, 4/1/13)
Oregonians with disabilities file class action suit against the governor, state officials (The Oregonian, 1/25/12)
Lawsuit challenges “sheltered workshops” for Oregon’s disabled (Reuters, 1/25/12)