It must be recognized that many of the Community Rehabilitation Programs that have a 14(c) workshop are serving an aging population. Most of their clientele are over 50 and many are in their 60's, 70's and even 80's. Many of these same individuals, at one time, lived in institutions. If an agency closes it's 14(c) workshop the individuals that will be impacted the most and lose their jobs, will be those who are aging. Many of these individuals have worked in their 14(c) workshops for many years, but as they age have developed many medical conditions that are seen as we age including: arthritis, decreased motor skills, dementia, diminished hearing and vision and other medical problems. These chronic health issues, combined with the age of the individual, makes placement in a competitive job in the community very difficult.
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Also, an employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees aged 40 or older and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.
Therefore, because the majority of those individuals who will lose their jobs with the closure of 14(c) workshops are elderly, this would be age discrimination. If the 14(c) workshop is closed, there is an extremely low expectation that individuals aged 50 and above would be competitively employed in the community. Closure of 14(c) workshops would leave those who are aging, without any employment and would take away the sense of self-esteem that they have cherished for many years.