- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The city of Providence, its school board and a city school have agreed to pay nearly $251,000 in back wages to 60 students with disabilities after an investigation found federal labor law violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the settlement Thursday. Its investigation found the Harold A. Birch Vocational School failed to determine appropriate wages and pay employees properly.

Under the settlement, the department retroactively revoked the certificate allowing Birch to pay sub-minimum wage for work performed in its so-called sheltered workshop. The students made between $1 and $2. The workshop was closed last year.

Federal officials said previously Rhode Island and the city violated the rights of the disabled by unnecessarily segregating them at Birch and a state-licensed employment program.

A message was left for the mayor’s spokesman.

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