Hiring discrimination against people with disabilities under the ADA: Characteristics of charging parties

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-132
Number of pages11
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, 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.


  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Disabilities
  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Hiring discrimination
  • Workplace discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


Dive into the research topics of 'Hiring discrimination against people with disabilities under the ADA: Characteristics of charging parties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this