Hiring Discrimination Against People with Disabilities Under the ADA: Characteristics of Charging Parties

Department of Rehabilitation Counseling, Virginia Commonwealth University, PO Box 980330, Richmond, VA 23298-0330, USA.
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 2.8). 07/2008; 18(2):122-32. DOI: 10.1007/s10926-008-9133-4
Source: PubMed


This article describes findings from a causal comparative study of the characteristics of Charging Parties who filed allegations of Hiring discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) between 1992 and 2005.
Charging Party Characteristics derived from 19,527 closed Hiring allegations are compared and contrasted to 259,680 closed allegations aggregated from six other prevalent forms of discrimination including Discharge and Constructive Discharge, Reasonable Accommodation, Disability Harassment and Intimidation, and Terms and Conditions of Employment. Tests of Proportion distributed as chi-square are used to form comparisons along a variety of factors including age, gender, impairment, and ethnicity.
Most allegations of ADA job discrimination fall into the realm of job retention and career advancement as opposed to job acquisition. Hiring allegations, however, tend to be filed by Charging Parties who are disproportionately male, younger or older applicants, white, and coping with physical or sensory disabilities.
Prevailing theories about stigma suggest that negative attitudes are more prevalent toward persons with behavioral disabilities. However, this study provides clear evidence that one behavioral manifestation of negative attitudes, Hiring discrimination, is more often directed at persons with physical or sensory impairments. More outreach regarding ADA rights appears indicated for individuals who share the aforementioned characteristics.

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Available from: Brian T McMahon
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    • "Stone and Colella's model (1996) suggests that the most critical factor characterizing employer work attitudes is a type of disability, positing that the degree of progressiveness, chronicity and/or visibility of a given disability is directly related to the probability of the person with this disability being classified as undesirable by observers, which then elicits negative emotional reactions in them. For example, McMahon et al. (2008) observed people with intellectual disability filed more hiring discrimination allegations than people with sensory disability, especially in consideration of the fact that they could require long training times and intensive on-the-job support. Another intervening variable in this regard is the perception of potential for disruptiveness or dangerousness, for example, of the extent to which a given individual with disability will likely comply with norms or rules, perform poorly, create unease in coworkers , and/or cause tension or uncertainty in social interaction. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hiring discrimination in the workplace is defined as failure or refusal by an employer to engage a qualified applicant as an employee due to the existence or consequence of disability. The specific intent of this study is to determine what differentiates an allegation (perception of discrimination) from an actual discriminatory event (Merit Resolution). Researchers used a data-mining approach, the Chi-square Automatic Interaction Detector (CHAID), to examine 19,527 resolved allegations of hiring discrimination in order to differentiate between Merit Resolution and Non-Merit Resolution outcomes. CHAID analysis confirmed that hiring discrimination is a complex matter with a variety of influences. Primary among these is the age of the Charging Party, with younger applicants (16-34) prevailing in their allegations 34% of the time. Within this subgroup, the sequence of predictor variables involves the Charging Party's impairment, followed by the Employer's industry classification. Behavioral disabilities, even among the young, result in generally lower Merit Resolution rates in hiring discrimination. Providers of training and technical assistance regarding hiring and disability may be able to adjust their services accordingly on the basis of findings such as these.
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