Indiana Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2016

Publication Citation

92 Indiana Law Journal 277 (2016)


In this Essay, I hope to do two things: First, I try to put the current labor-disability controversy into that broader context. Second, and perhaps more important, I take a position on how disability rights advocates should approach both the current contro-versy and labor-disability tensions more broadly. As to the narrow dispute over wage-and-hour protections for personal-assistance workers, I argue both that those workers have a compelling normative claim to full FLSA protection—a claim that disability rights advocates should recognize—and that supporting the claim of those workers is pragmatically in the best interests of the disability rights movement. As to the broader tensions, I argue that disability rights advocates go wrong, both norma-tively and pragmatically, in treating the interests of individuals with disabilities as inevitably superordinate to those of individuals who do the work of providing community-based services and supports. Although this wrong turn is completely understandable in light of the history of paternalist subordination of people with disabilities at the hands of the helping professions, today’s situation calls for an accommodation of the legitimate claims of each side.