Employment

Introduction

We envision a society where all people, regardless of the type or severity of disability, are productive members of society with opportunities for competitive, integrated employment.

What We Do

  • Provide information and referral services on disability-related employment issues.
  • Provide assistance and self-advocacy training to people with disabilities to assist them in addressing their employment issues.
  • Provide advocacy and legal assistance to protect the employment rights of people with disabilities.
  • Provide education, training, and outreach to the community about disability-related employment rights.

When We Can Help

Employment Discrimination

  • Failure to hire/promote
  • Denial of employment benefits (e.g., health insurance, leave)
  • Denial of reasonable accommodations or modifications to policies
  • Harassment
  • Termination

Barriers to Work

  • Social Security disability beneficiaries’ concerns with employment networks.
  • Social Security disability beneficiaries are not aware of work incentives that can help them work.
  • When other things create barriers to work such as inaccessible public transportation, assistive technology, etc.

Employment Services

  • You have been turned down for vocational rehabilitation services by South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) or South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB).
  • You need help communicating with your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, other VR staff, or other service provider.
  • You need a better employment plan from SCVRD and SCCB to help you go to work.
  • When you have concerns about the employment preparation services you are receiving through your Medicaid waiver.
  • When you do not get “informed choice” in selecting your providers, services, or work goals.
  • When you have been refused services you need to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.

Your Employment Rights

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination in the workplace against qualified individuals with disabilities by an employer, public or private, generally with 15 or more employees. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability at each step of the employment process, from job application to advancement or termination of employees. Discrimination, under the ADA may take such forms as inappropriately classifying a job applicant or employee; not hiring or promoting qualified individuals who are disabled; or failing to make reasonable accommodations for employees an employer knows have mental or physical limitations. To learn more, check out this page from the EEOC. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/your-employment-rights-individual-disability

The Client Assistance Program (CAP )

The Client Assistance Program (CAP) at DRSC works to advise, assist and advocate for  individuals who receive or want to receive services from the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (SCVRD), the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB), or Centers for Independent Living (CILS).  There are currently three CILS in South Carolina:  Able SC, Walton Options, and AccessAbility. This program helps people understand their federally protected employment rights, such as their rights to reasonable accommodations and to be free from disability-related discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. CAP is a federally designated program in which DRSC has been appointed by the Governor for the state to run.

Words to Know

ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Any device, software, or equipment that helps to increase or maintain the ability of persons with disabilities function in daily living.

Any service that directly assists a person with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential private non-profit agencies that are designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities, and that provides an array of independent living services.

A federally funded and designated program to advise, assist and advocate for individuals who receive or want to receive services from the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (SCVRD) or The South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) or the Centers for Independent Living (CILS).

The federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

Entities that enter into an agreement with the Social Security Administration (Social Security) to either provide or coordinate the delivery of services to Social Security disability beneficiaries.

The term outlined by IDEA to define the written document that states the individualized goals, objectives and services for a student receiving special education.

A written plan outlining a participant’s vocational goal and the services to be provided to reach that goal.

Any change to the application or hiring process, to the job, to the way the job is done, to policies, or to the work environment that allows a person with a disability who is qualified for the job to perform the essential functions of that job and enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment. Accommodations may be considered “reasonable” if they do not create an undue hardship or a direct threat.

A state agency in charge of vocational rehabilitation in South Carolina.

A state agency in charge of vocational rehabilitation in South Carolina.

A set of activities as listed in the IEP that facilitate the student’s movement to postsecondary options; may include vocational assessment, career exploration, and vocational education.

Services which help people who have disabilities prepare for, find, keep, or advance in a job.

The End of Subminimum Wage

On May 23, 2022, a bill (s.533) to end subminimum wage in South Carolina, was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster following years of advocacy efforts.  Since 1938, employers had been allowed to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage per hour, sometimes less than $1 an hour. It is estimated that 1,800 people with disabilities in the state were being paid a subminimum wage at the time the bill was signed. People with disabilities and advocates have been working for years to end this practice and ensure that everyone in the state is paid a fair wage for the work they do. Now that the bill has been signed into law, a task force is working on developing a plan to phase out subminimum wage practice.  This law, combined with the Employment First Act, that passed alongside it, is a major victory for people with disabilities seeking competitive and integrated employment in South Carolina.