MACON, GA – An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found a Fort Valley community center’s failure to provide timely career counseling, information and referrals to three adult workers with developmental disabilities led to violations of federal regulations, and the recovery of $12,211 in back wages for the workers.

Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, employers may pay a subminimum wage to workers with disabilities while providing them with resources and information, such as career counseling and referrals, to provide access to competitive integrated employment.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Peach Association for the Intellectual Disabled Inc. – operating as Kay Community Service Center – paid the three workers the subminimum wage but failed to provide counseling, information and referrals. They also learned the facility did not maintain complete and accurate pay records, a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. 

“With proper certification and within certain criteria, employers may pay subminimum wages to people with disabilities only if the employer provides career counseling every six months during the first year of employment, and annually in the years that follow,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildali De Jesus in Orlando, Florida. “Our investigation determined Kay Community Service Center failed to meet its legal requirements and owed three workers the full federal minimum wage, which became a costly lesson.”

Following the division’s investigation, the employer started a system to review and maintain training and records for all workers.

Headquartered in Fort Valley, Kay Community Service Center provides training and employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. The center places its individuals in various trades such as lawn care, cleaning and maintenance.  

The Wage and Hour Division provides multiple tools to help employers understand their responsibilities and offers confidential compliance assistance to anyone with questions about how to comply with the law. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. For information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit the agency’s website.  

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