Sweeney Bill to Improve Accountability, Ensure Workplace Accessibility for Disabled Individuals Advances

Trenton – A Senate committee today approved a bill authored by Senate President Steve Sweeney that would have the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired conduct an assessment of employment offered to the disabled by community rehabilitation programs and businesses to determine if the jobs meet the criteria for “competitive integrated employment” under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“New Jersey residents with disabilities should be able to choose the type of employment that best suits their needs and their skillset,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Each individual, family or caregiver deserves the state’s support in maintaining that choice and it is important the workplaces they select provide proper accommodations to meet their needs. This is an issue of choice and freedom that we respect and honor in New Jersey. It is our responsibility to hold these employers accountable so that individuals do not feel they have to work in unsuitable conditions or be forced to fight for things already required under federal statue.”

The bill would allow the Legislature to establish a process for assessing the employment opportunities afforded to individuals with disabilities by community rehabilitation programs and community businesses.

The division and the commission shall conduct this case-by-case assessment with the presumption that employment provided by a community rehabilitation program meets the criteria for competitive integrated employment.

The bill, S-995, was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.