This is the first class action in the nation that challenged segregated sheltered workshops as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Filed in 2012, the case, was brought on behalf of thousands of people with disabilities in Oregon’s sheltered workshop system. Many of these individuals have spent years, even decades, stuck in these segregated settings, often making less than one dollar an hour. Among the critical holdings was U.S. District Court Judge Janice M. Stewart’s landmark decision that the integration mandate of the ADA applies to employment settings as well as to residential settings. As a result, people with I/DD must receive employment services in integrated settings, not sheltered workshops.
The parties negotiated a Settlement Agreement which requires the state to provide real jobs with real pay in Competitive Integrated Employment for about 1,100 individuals in sheltered workshops, and ensures that thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can obtain the services they need to be able to work in an integrated job. Under the Agreement, which was approved by the Court December 29, 2015, the State must provide vocational services that lead to integrated employment for 4,900 for youth with I/DD leaving public schools. An independent court monitor was appointed to oversee the Agreement.
The State made impressive efforts to implement the Settlement Agreement, and by 2022 had achieved all of the outcome metrics and the qualitative measures required by the Agreement. The parties joined in a motion for substantial compliance, which the Court approved in August 2022.
CPR’s co-counsel included Disability Rights Oregon; and two private firms – Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, LLP, and Perkins Coie, LLP. In addition, the United States Department of Justice is the plaintiff-intervenor.