Employer characteristics and discharge-related discrimination against people with disabilities under the Americans with disabilities Act

Philip D. Rumrill, Shawn M. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article describes findings from a causal comparative study of the characteristics of employers against whom allegations of discrimination related to unlawful discharge were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). People with disabilities filed these allegations under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) between 1992 and 2008. Employer characteristics derived from 140,581 closed discharge-related allegations were compared to and contrasted with 165,447 closed allegations aggregated from four other prevalent forms of discrimination including reasonable accommodations, hiring, disability harassment and intimidation, and terms and conditions of employment. Tests of Proportion were used to examine comparisons of employer characteristics along a variety of factors, including size of workforce, location, and industrial classification. As compared to nondischarge allegations, discharge allegations were more likely to be filed against employers (a) with 15 to 200 employees; (b) in the South U.S. Census Tract Region; and (c) in the Manufacturing, Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail, Administrative Support, Waste Management and Remediation, Finance and Insurance, Professional/Scientific/Technical, Accommodation and Food Service, Wholesale, Construction, Real Estate, and Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing/ Hunting industries. Additional research is needed to specify the mechanisms by which different employer characteristics influence patterns in allegations of discrimination pertaining to discharge, and human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD) practices regarding ADA responsibilities must be developed with the aforementioned characteristics in mind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-465
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Developing Human Resources
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • disability
  • discharge
  • discrimination
  • employer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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