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Ted Evans

  • Hosted by Disability Rights Texas
  • Sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland, Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Houston, Texas
  • Law school University of Houston Law Center
  • Issue area Disability Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Ted provided legal advocacy and community outreach to people with disabilities isolated in work shelters earning pennies an hour in poor work conditions, and worked to shut down the school-to-work shelter pipeline.

Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities are paid pennies an hour, trapped in sheltered workshops and isolated from the broader community. Such workshops receive certificates from the Department of Labor to pay below the federal minimum wage. Isolating individuals in workshops limits their earning capacity and cuts off significant community interaction. Some workshops in Texas have relationships with local schools, leading parents to believe that students with disabilities have no other options. To draw attention to employer violations and misconduct, workers must bring claims to the Department of Labor. Workers are unlikely to secure legal counsel due to lack of knowledge of their rights, low expectations fostered by the workshops, and limited availability of counsel. Ted’s project will help people access options outside of workshops and earn a fair living wage.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Ted has:

  • Filed three complaints that led the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (DOL-WHD) to award approximately $85,000 in back wages
  • Conducted monitoring visits of 12 work-shelters
  • Conducted presentations on section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act at a number of organizations
  • Helped workers with discrimination claims secure settlement awards of approximately $125,000

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