A Comparison of EEOC Closures Involving Hiring Versus Other Prevalent Discrimination Issues Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

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This article describes findings from a causal comparative study of the Merit Resolution rate for allegations of Hiring discrimination that were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) between 1992 and 2005. An allegation is the Charging Party's perception of discrimination, but a Merit Resolution is one in which the EEOC has determined that a discriminatory event did indeed occur. A Non-Merit Resolution is an allegation that is closed due to a technicality or lacks sufficient evidence to conclude that discrimination occurred. Merit favors the Charging Party; Non-Merit favors the Employer.


The Merit Resolution rate of 19,527 closed Hiring allegations is compared and contrasted to that of 259,680 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 subcategories of Merit and Non-Merit outcomes.


The overall Merit Resolution rate for Hiring is 26% compared to Non-Hiring at 20.6%. Employers are less likely to settle claims of hiring discrimination without mediation, and less likely to accept the remedies recommended by the EEOC when hiring discrimination has been determined.


Hiring is not an unusual discrimination issue in that the overwhelming majority of allegations are still closed in favor of the Employer. However, it is counterintuitive that Hiring has a higher merit resolution rate than other prevalent issues. This finding contradicts the assumption that hiring is an ldquo;invisible process.rdquo; Considering that the EEOC makes merit determinations at a competitive rate, it is clear that hiring is sufficiently transparent.

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