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

  • Brian T. McMahon
  • Richard Roessler
  • Philip D. RumrillJr.
  • Jessica E. Hurley
  • Steven L. West
  • Fong Chan
  • Linnea Carlson


Introduction 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. Methods 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. Results 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. Conclusion 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.


Hiring discrimination Workplace discrimination  Employment Disabilities Americans with Disabilities Act Discrimination 



This study was supported through the VCU Coordination, Outreach and Research Center for the National Network of ADA Resource Centers, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education (PR# H133A060087). Appreciation is extended to Dr. Ronald Edwards, Office of Research, Information and Planning, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for his cooperation. The findings and interpretations expressed herein are those of the authors and not the EEOC. Database support was provided by Dr. Mehdi Mansouri.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian T. McMahon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard Roessler
    • 3
  • Philip D. RumrillJr.
    • 4
  • Jessica E. Hurley
    • 5
  • Steven L. West
    • 5
  • Fong Chan
    • 6
  • Linnea Carlson
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation CounselingVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources, and Communication DisordersUniversity of Arkansas at FayettevilleFayettevilleUSA
  4. 4.Disability Institute Kent State UniversityKentUSA
  5. 5.Department of Rehabilitation CounselingVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  6. 6.Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special EducationUniversity of Wisconsin at MadisonMadisonUSA
  7. 7.Department of Educational Foundations and Special ServicesKent State UniversityKentUSA

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