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National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2009

CORC Revealing Profiles in Discrimination

The Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) Coordination, Outreach and Research Center (CORC) coordinates research activities for the National Network of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Centers. It also houses the National Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ADA Research Project, a collaborative venture between Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the EEOC. Fifty researchers from 15 universities are involved in the project, which seeks to generate industry-specific, impairment-specific, and issue-specific profiles of discrimination. The EEOC database of 402,000 closed investigations of discrimination comprises the entire body of EEOC closures from 1992-2008. Following are examples of some surprising findings:

  • There are 40 areas of human resources in which measurable discrimination is found. However, 76 percent of all allegations derive from just five issues. From a risk analysis perspective, this is where employers should be most vigilant:
  • This is where employers should be most vigilant: discharge & constructive discharge: (35%); reasonable accommodation (18%); terms & conditions of employment (9%); disability harassment & intimidation (9%); and hiring (5%)
    • discharge & constructive discharge (35 percent);
    • reasonable accommodation (18 percent);
    • terms & conditions of employment (9 percent);
    • disability harassment & intimidation (9 percent); and
    • hiring (5 percent)

  • The overwhelming majority of discrimination is related to job retention or the quality of work, not job acquisition.
  • Merit resolutions which favor the charging party occur in only 22 percent of all closures.
  • Most impairment groups show significantly higher levels of actual discrimination on 2 or 3 issues. Allegations derived from people with HIV have higher levels on 19 issues. They are closed with merit at much higher levels as well—nearly 30 percent.
  • Social psychologists tell us that negative attitudes are more prevalent toward persons with behavioral disabilities. In workplace discrimination, however, levels of actual discrimination are substantially higher for persons with physical and sensory impairments.
  • Although large businesses (over 500 workers) employ less than 1/5 of American workers and have dedicated human resources departments, they receive more allegations of discrimination than small or medium size employers.

Directed by Professor Brian T. McMahon, the project has generated 50 refereed publications that provide a clearer understanding of the nature and scope of workplace discrimination and disability.

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The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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Last Modified: 10/15/2009