U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, called on the Department of Labor this week to phase out a practice that allows employers to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage — a policy which she called “inherently discriminatory.”
In a Monday letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Warren and other senators requested information on the agency’s oversight and enforcement of employers who use waivers to hire workers with disabilities and pay them below the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
Raising concerns about past abuses of the program, the lawmakers asked Acosta how DOL is working to prevent employers from mistreating and discriminating against workers with disabilities.
They further called on the secretary to responsibly end the practice.
“These waivers are inherently discriminatory and should be phased out in a responsible way,” they wrote. “While the department continues to issue these waivers, however, we are concerned by past abuses of the program and hope to better understand the extent to which the Department is able to prevent employers’ mistreatment of and discrimination against workers with disabilities.”