Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Chan, F., McMahon, B., Cheing, G., Rosenthal, D.A. & Bezyak, J. (2005). Drivers of workplace discrimination against people with disabilities: The utility of Attribution Theory. Work, 25 77-88.
Title:  Drivers of workplace discrimination against people with disabilities: The utility of Attribution Theory
Authors:  Chan, F., McMahon, B., Cheing, G., Rosenthal, D.A. & Bezyak, J.
Year:  2005
Journal/Publication:  Work
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Database mining

Structured abstract:

Background:  Discrimination impacts employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. This is often the result of an invisible barrier related to negative employer attitudes. Research on employer attitudes and disabilities focus on stereotypes and attitudes of the public. Research about workplace discrimination is needed.
Purpose:  This study examined factors behind workplace discrimination for people with disabilities.
Setting:  The data for the study came from the Integrated Mission System of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Study sample:  The study sample was 35,763 allegations of discriminations filed by people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that were included in the Integrated Mission System or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Only allegations of discrimination related to employment were included. The majority (54%) of the allegations were made by males with an average age of 44.5 years. Additionally, racial and ethnic backgrounds were diverse with 70.5% filed by European Americans.
Intervention:  Mike
Control or comparison condition:  Mike
Data collection and analysis:  Database mining was used to determine the effects of disability status, demographic characteristics, and organizational variables on the discrimination of people with disabilities. The sample was divided up into two groups. Group A included impairments that were considered as uncontrollable and stable. Group B included impairments rated as controllable and unstable. The criterion variable was the outcome of the EEOC investigation. A merit resolution means discrimination took place. Resolution without merit means available evidence did not support discrimination. Predictor variables included: characteristics of the charging party, respondent characteristics and type of allegation alleged. Data mining approach was used to analyze the data. An exhaustive chi squared automatic interaction detector (CHAID) was used to examine the allegations in the database.
Findings:  Among the numerous allegations only 21% were resolved with merit. The remainder were " perceived" allegations. Most of the allegations for most disability categories related to discharge, reasonable accommodation, hiring and harassment. Discharge is the most prevalent allegation. Perceived allegations occur at a higher rates in Group B particularly when it involves discharge and disability harassment, with the exception of HIV/AIDS, where discrimination occurs more often for Group A.
Conclusions:  Negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities are complex and cannot be explained by attrition alone. Evidence did not support the hierarchy of preference for disability and was not sufficient to support a connection between stereotypes/attitudes and discrimination in the workplace. Data base mining can be an effective way to study social stigma.

Disabilities served:  Alcohol and drug abuse
Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Interventions:  Other
Outcomes:  Other