BACKGROUND: This study investigated the experiences with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) across three phases of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) implementation: Phase I (pre-Sutton decision era, 1992-1999), Phase II (Sutton decision era, 2000-2008), and Phase III (ADA Amendments Act era, 2009-2011). OBJECTIVE: Research questions addressed differential (a) characteristics of charging parties and respondents, (b) patterns in the number and type of allegations, and (c) proportions of merit and non-merit EEOC judgments. METHODS: The study utilized data from the Integrated Mission System of the U.S. EEOC. RESULTS: Findings indicated that proportionally more women and Hispanic adults with MS filed claims during Phases II and III than during Phase I. More older individuals and African Americans with MS filed claims during Phase III than during Phases I and II. In Phase I, adults with MS were more likely to allege discrimination against smaller employers and less likely to file charges against larger employers, a trend that reversed during Phases II and III. The annual number of resolved EEOC charges appeared to increase during Phase I, increase then decrease in Phase II, and increase during Phase III. Regardless of phase, most allegations pertained to either unlawful discharge or failure to provide reasonable accommodations. Although higher in Phase III than in I, the percentage of EEOC merit decisions was highest in Phase II. CONCLUSION: Over time, more typically disenfranchised individuals sought ADA protections, possibly due to publicity, support from advocates, and membership in a culture supporting diversity and nondiscrimination. The increased number of resolved allegations in Phase III was consistent with the greater inclusiveness attributed to the ADA Amendments Act. Interpretation of other findings is provided regarding characteristics of respondents, types of allegations, and trends in EEOC merit decisions.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
|Published - 2016
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- workplace discrimination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Occupational Therapy