Disability Law Center Commends the Department of Justice for its Efforts to Ensure Utahns with Disabilities Can Access Competitive Integrated Employment

Press Statement
For Immediate Release

Posted: June 18, 2024
Community Access and InclusionEmploymentInstitutional Rights and Civil Liberties

This weekend, the disability rights movement will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which held that the unjustified segregation of people with disabilities is discrimination and unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Today, we are reminded that many Utahns have yet to see the promises of that decision realized. Too many Utahns with disabilities are still segregated in institutional settings, separate classrooms, and sheltered workshops. However, after the actions today by the Department of Justice (DOJ), we are hopeful that Utahns with intellectual and developmental disabilities will have more opportunities to choose to work in the community.

Since the release of the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule in 2014, a federal regulation that ensures that people in Medicaid’s HCBS programs have all the benefits of community living, have access to community employment and can receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, the Disability Law Center (DLC) has repeatedly urged State leaders to comply with its requirements. In addition, for more than a decade, the DLC has informed the State that failure to comply with its larger obligations under Title II of the ADA and the Olmstead decision to not unjustifiably segregate people with disabilities could result in liability and enforcement action.. Unfortunately, far too often, State leaders ignored our warning.

While there is work to be done, the DLC is pleased to see the DOJ taking action to ensure Utahns with disabilities can realize the promises of Olmstead. We encourage the State to work with the DOJ to address this matter and provide meaningful access to integrated employment for people with disabilities. It is time for state leaders across Utah recognize that people with disabilities have the right to receive services in integrated settings in all aspects of their lives.