Protests Held to Raise Awareness of Pay Discrimination Against the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people, held more than 20 informational protests across the United States to raise awareness about the practice of paying below the federal minimum wage to Americans with disabilities.

The Rehabilitation Act is supposed to provide services to disabled Americans so that they can obtain competitive employment, but Title V, Section 511 of the proposed Rehabilitation Act language reinforces Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which allows certain entities holding special wage certificates to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage.


According to the NFB, the protests were held July 26, the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, at the primary district office locations of United States senators serving on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (the HELP Committee). The HELP Committee is currently considering legislation—the Workforce Investment Act—which would reauthorize the payment of subminimum wages to disabled workers.(WCxKit)
Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind said, “Unequal pay for equal work on the basis of disability is unfair, discriminatory, and immoral. We urge the senators who serve on the HELP Committee to eliminate the indefensible practice of paying disabled workers less than the federal minimum wage.”
Twenty-one informational protests were held in 16 states, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, and Wyoming.
Unfortunately, the reauthorization vote on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)  scheduled for August 3, 2011 did not take place and as of August 11 is still stalled in committee.(WCxKit)

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See for more information. Contact:

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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