The Workplace Discrimination Experiences of Individuals with Cancer in the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act Era

Mykal Leslie, David R. Strauser, Brian McMahon, Chelsea Greco, Phillip D. Rumrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background The purpose of this study was to investigate the patterns in allegations of workplace discrimination filed by individuals with cancer. Objective The goal of the research was to describe discrimination, both actual and perceived, that has occurred against individuals with cancer in comparison to a group of individuals with other general disabilities (GENDIS) through analyses of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Integrated Mission System (IMS) database. Methods An ex post facto, causal comparative quantitative design was used to examine Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) Title I complaints received by the EEOC from people with cancer from 2009 through 2016 (n = 10,848) in comparison to the GENDIS group over the same time period (n = 13,338). Results Results revealed statistically significant differences in the patterns of issues alleged by the two groups. When compared to the GENDIS group, the cancer group was significantly older and had proportionally more individuals who identified as Asian than the GENDIS group. People with cancer were more likely to allege discrimination in the areas of unlawful discharge, demotion, wages, layoff, benefits, and referrals. They were less likely to allege discrimination in areas of reasonable accommodation, hiring, and suspension. Also, the cancer group was more likely than the GENDIS group to file allegations against smaller employers and employers in the Southeast region of the United States, while employers in the Mid-Atlantic and Rocky Mountain regions were less likely to be named in allegations by people with cancer. The cancer group was also significantly more likely than the GENDIS group to find that EEOC investigations of their allegations resulted in merit-based case resolution, that is, discrimination had indeed occurred. Owing to the large sample size, some of these between-group differences were small in magnitude. Conclusion The workplace discrimination experiences of people with cancer are substantially different from those of people with other disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cancer
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Workplace discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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