A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?

A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?

Donna Martinez May 19, 2012

And apparently the US District Court in Oregon is in agreement!

From NDRN: Breaking News

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court in Oregon issued a 16-page Opinion and Order
in the case Lane v. Kiltzhaber, 3:12-cv-00138-ST. The Lane complaint claims that
failure to provide supported employment services violates Title II of the ADA
and the integration mandate. The Court granted the state defendants’ motion to
dismiss the complaint, but without prejudice and with leave to amend, while
directing the Plaintiffs how to correct the wording of the complaint. Most
importantly, the Court determined that the plaintiffs have valid cognizable
claims under Title II of the ADA and that the integration mandate applies to the
provision of employment-related services.

This case was filed by Disability Rights Oregon and co-counsels Center for
Public Representation, Perkins Coie LLP and Miller Nash LLP, on behalf of eight
individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are able and
would prefer to work in an integrated employment setting, but instead are
segregated in sheltered workshops.

Recognizing that this is a case of first impression, the Court noted “no other
case has applied the integration mandate in a context other than one in which
the state’s action places plaintiffs at risk of institutionalization. However,
the dearth of authority does not led inexorably to the conclusion that the
integration mandate is inapplicable to plaintiffs’ claims. To the contrary, the
broad language and remedial purposes of the ADA, the corresponding lack of any
limiting language in either the ADA or the integration mandate itself, and the
lack of any case law restricting the reach of the integration mandate suggests
just the opposition conclusion.” (Opinion at 10-11).

In reaching this conclusion, the Court carefully scrutinized the defendants’ arguments for dismissal, and gave deference to the U.S. Department of Justice’s interpretation
of the integration mandate which prohibits the unnecessary provision of services
in non-integrated settings, including segregated sheltered workshops. (Opinion
at 7-9).

The Court distinguished claims for a “discriminatory denial of services” versus
claims for “providing inadequate services,” holding that “a claim survives only
if it truly alleges a ‘discriminatory denial of services’ and must be dismissed
if it instead concerns the ‘adequacy’ of the services provided.” (Opinion at
13-16).

Noting that the plaintiffs clarified at oral argument that they are
seeking the “provision of employment services that would allow them the
opportunity to work in an integrated setting,” and seek to have defendants
“reallocate their available resources in a way that does not unjustifiably favor
segregated employment,” the court determined that some of the allegations in the
complaint “go beyond the clarification offered” at the hearing” and identified
specific claims subject to amendment. (Opinion at 14-15).

Plaintiffs have been
given leave to amend their complaint by May 29, “to clarify that the defendants
are violating Title II of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act by denying
employment services to plaintiffs for which they are eligible with the result of
unnecessarily segregating them in sheltered workshops.” (Opinion at 16).

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