Disability Discrimination In The Workplace

CW: Ableism

Federal officials filed a lawsuit against a Culver’s fast-food franchisee in Cottage Grove on Tuesday, stating that many of the fast-food restaurant’s employees were subjected to racial, homophobic, and sexist remarks, as well as hostility toward a disabled worker.

The EEOC filed civil rights lawsuits against R&G Endeavors. R&G Endeavors operates the Culver’s near the 80th Street exit of Highway 10 in Minnesota.

The lawsuits was filed on behalf of at least five Culver’s employees. They are seeking unspecified financial compensation for incidents that occurred nearly five years ago.

Bullying against a disabled employee was one of the cases revealed. The employee has an undisclosed disability. He was bullied and called derogatory names because of his disabilities. Furthermore, he was paid less than his coworkers who were not disabled.

Subminimum wage is perfectly legal because, under US labor law, certain people with disabilities have been allowed to be paid less than the minimum wage since 1938. During the Great Depression, this law was introduced to encourage more people to find work.

Last year, approximately 4,800 disabled Minnesotans were paid subminnimum wages. Many of them were employed in sheltered workshops. For those working in these settings, the average hourly pay is only $3.34.

People who have disabilities should be paid fairly for their work. Data demonstrate that we are dependable, creative, and diligent employees. It is past time to put an end to this discriminatory practice. Everyone should be paid fairly, regardless of disability.


Crann, Tom, and Lukas Levin. “Lawmakers Weigh Doing Away with Subminimum Wages for Minnesotans with Disabilities.” MPR News, 15 Mar. 2023, http://www.mprnews.org/story/2023/03/15/lawmakers-weigh-doing-away-with-subminimum-wages-for-minnesotans-with-disabilities.

Selyukh, Alina. “Workers with Disabilities Can Earn JUST $3.34 an HOUR. Agency Says Law Needs Change.” NPR, 17 Sept. 2020, http://www.npr.org/2020/09/17/912840482/u-s-agency-urges-end-to-below-minimum-wage-for-workers-with-disabilities.

Walsh, Paul. “Lawsuits: Cottage Grove Culver’s Subjected Workers to Hostilities Based on Race, Gender, Disability.” Star Tribune, 23 May 2023, http://www.startribune.com/lawsuits-cottage-grove-culvers-subjected-workers-to-hostilities-based-on-race-gender-disability/600277211/.

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