Drivers of hiring discrimination for individuals with disabilities

Brian T. McMahon, Jessica E. Hurley, Fong Chan, Philip D. Rumrill, Richard Roessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: 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). Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments 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,


  • Disability
  • EEOC
  • Employment
  • Hiring discrimination
  • Workplace discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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