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Press Release

Justice Department Finds That Utah Violates Federal Civil Rights Law by Segregating People with Disabilities

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today its findings that Utah is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by unnecessarily segregating youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) during the day, instead of helping them find work and spend their days in their communities.

The department found that the State relies on segregated settings, such as sheltered workshops and day facilities, where people with I/DD have limited interaction with people without disabilities and have little choice in how to spend their time. As a result, thousands of Utahns with I/DD spend their days separated from their communities. Other individuals with I/DD in the State, including youth with I/DD who are transitioning out of children’s services, are at serious risk of unnecessary segregation in these settings.

“Full inclusion in society is a central promise of the ADA,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are entitled to full inclusion, and to the dignity and purpose that comes with deciding where to work and how to spend their days.”

Utah’s sheltered workshops are often located in large, industrial warehouses. People with I/DD who work in sheltered workshops may spend all day at the warehouse, performing rote tasks — like shredding paper — often for less than minimum wage. In day facilities, people with I/DD may similarly spend all day at the facility with nothing much to do other than craft or watch TV.

The ADA and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. require state and local governments to make their services for people with disabilities available in the most integrated setting appropriate to each person’s needs. In October 2023, the department issued guidance explaining how this federal requirement applies to publicly-funded employment and day services.

The Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section investigated the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah.

For more information on the ADA, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit

For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit

Updated June 18, 2024

Civil Rights
Disability Rights
Press Release Number: 24-778