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Learning Disabilities as a Qualifying Disability Under FLSA Section 14(c)

Unlike other disabilities, the terms “learning disability” or “learning disabled” (LD) do not have precise definitions. Rather, LD describes a number of learning or behavioral disabilities, ranging from mild to severe, that may manifest by various combinations of impairments in perception, conceptualization, language, memory, and control of attention, impulse or motor function.

Under certain circumstances, LD may be a qualifying disability under FLSA Section 14(c)—in other words, a disability that impairs the earning and/or productive capacity of workers. However, individuals with LD as their primary disability do not normally require long-term placement in work centers. Some, after acquiring proper training and/or experience, successfully overcome disabilities in the workplace and should no longer be paid less than the minimum wage.

Some difficulties that are indicative of LD and may affect the productivity of the individual include: needing to work longer hours to produce the same amount as coworkers; needing to choose between being careless or being slow; making more frequent errors than coworkers; misunderstanding instructions from supervisors or comments from coworkers; and failing vocational training.

An individual may be considered to have LD only when either of the following situations exists:

" The disorder has been diagnosed by a physician or a licensed or certified psychologist who is skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of such disorders; the disorder results in a substantial impairment to employment; and the physician or psychiatrist expects that vocational rehabilitation services may enhance the employability of the individual;" or

" The State vocational rehabilitation agency, or another qualified agency, has determined that the individual in question is substantially disabled for employment, and the individual has been treated as learning disabled or had a history of receiving special education for the learning disability. "

If LD is considered the individual’s sole disability but the requirements just mentioned are not met, that individual may not be considered to have a disability under FLSA Section 14(c).

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FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor | Wage and Hour Division