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U.S. Department of Justice Releases Further Clarification on How the ADA and Olmstead Apply to Employment Services and Settings

November 4, 2016

On October 31, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released further clarification on how the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the subsequent Olmstead v. L.C. (Olmstead) decision, are to be applied to state and local governments’ employment service systems for individual with disabilities.

The ADA and its Title II regulations require public entities to “administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individual with disabilities.” The Olmstead decision more soundly clarified the intent of Title II by establishing the prohibition of unjustified segregation of individuals with disabilities. Since the signing of the ADA (Title II) and the establishment of the Olmstead decision, the language in both have been predominately applied to residential settings. However, more recently, the DOJ, with support of many in the disability community, has begun to apply the ADA’s integration mandate and the Olmstead decision to both publicly-funded employment services and settings, and facility-based day programs

In an effort to assist state and local governments in ensuring that the employment supports and services that they provide to individual with disabilities are in compliance with the ADA and Olmstead, the DOJ includes a series of answers to questions related to fulfilling their obligation.

These questions include:

  • What is the ADA’s Title II integration mandate, and how does it apply to state and local governments’ employment service systems?
  • What is the most integrated setting under the ADA and Olmstead in the context of a state and local government’s employment service system?
  • How can state and local governments’ employment service systems ensure that people with disabilities have access to competitive integrated employment?
  • What evidence may a person with a disability rely on to establish that an integrated setting is appropriate for him or her?
  • What factors are relevant in determining whether an individual does not oppose receiving services in an integrated employment setting?
  • Do the ADA and Olmstead apply to persons at serious risk of segregation in sheltered workshops?
  • What remedies address violations of the ADA’s integration mandate in the context of disability employment systems?
  • What is an Olmstead Plan in the state and local government employment service system context?
  • Is the ADA limited to segregation in employment settings when the same individuals are also subject to segregation in other settings during the day, such as facility-based day programs?

Read the full DOJ Publication.