Some Non-Profits Take Advantage of Loophole, Pay Disabled Workers Less Than Minimum Wage

According to an NBC News story, Goodwill Industries, a multibillion-dollar charity organization, is paying disabled workers as little as 22 cents an hour.

NBC News said that Goodwill is taking advantage of a 75-year-old legal loophole that allows nonprofit-groups to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage. The law, Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed in 1938. The media outlet was able to get documents from the Labor Department showing that some Goodwill workers in Pennsylvania made wages “as low as 22, 38 and 41 cents per hour in 2011.”

“If they really do pay the CEO of Goodwill three-quarters of a million dollars, they certainly can pay me more than they’re paying,” Harold Leigland, a legally blind employee at Goodwill in Montana told NBC News. The news outlet said that Section 14 (c) allows “employers to obtain special minimum wage certificates from the Department of Labor. The certificates give employers the right to pay disabled workers according to their abilities, with no bottom limit to the wage.”

We are appalled that a company or non-profit would pay its workers less than minimum wage and take advantage of a legal loophole that hurts the disabled. According to NBC News, other organizations who have taken advantage of the certificates include “restaurants, retail stores, hospitals and even Internal Revenue Service centers.” The news outlet reported that more than 216,000 workers are eligible to earn less than minimum wage because of Section 14 (c).

We wonder how many of these disabled people may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, which are determined based on a person’s work history. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses two different tests to evaluate a person’s work history. The first of these tests is the “Duration of Work Test,” while the second is the “Recent Work Test.”

If you have questions about applying for disability benefits, contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050. Contact us today to learn more about your rights.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

Troutman Touts: It is estimated that more than 90 percent of Section 14 (c) disabled workers are employed at nonprofit work centers.


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