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Rights & Benefits

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Federal laws, especially the Fair Labor Standards Act, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), govern many aspects of hiring, wages, hours, workplace safety, and benefits.

The DOL Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the government office for researching employment discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, religion, genetics or sex (gender), in violation of federal discrimination laws. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you can file a discrimination charge against an employer or its representatives, on your own or through a lawyer. The DC Field Office is at 131 M St., NE, 4th Floor, Suite 4NWO2F, Washington, DC 20507, 1-800-669-4000.

The DOL Wage and Hour Division (WHD) regulates and enforces several employee rights related to pay and work hours, such as those granted by the laws that govern the minimum wage, overtime, and family and medical leave. You should be aware that the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employers certified by WHD to pay special minimum wages (less than the federal minimum wage) to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed. See this website for more information.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) develops and influences policies and practices affecting the employment of people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Guidance on what types of accommodations might be appropriate for a variety of functional limitations is available from the Job Accommodation Network, a free service of ODEP.

Another great resource is Disability.gov, a comprehensive online resource providing people with disabilities, employers, and others with information on accommodations, employment resources, tax incentives, and other relevant information.

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