Examining Outcomes in Americans with Disabilities Act Litigation for Persons with Mental and Physical Disabilities
Despite celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2015, the United States still sees persistent discrimination against persons with mental and physical disabilities. Our institutions that are intended to eliminate discrimination in employment, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the federal district courts, are as susceptible to both overt and implicit bias as the rest of the country. Based on the fact that persons with mental disabilities tend to experience more frequent and pervasive discrimination than persons with physical disabilities, I hypothesize that EEOC litigation will be biased against persons with mental disabilities, resulting in worse outcomes of litigation than persons with physical disabilities. I examine the outcomes of EEOC litigation in federal district court using OLS and logit regressions to identify differential outcomes for persons with disabilities and locate the source of the bias. I find a small and statistically insignificant positive correlation between alleging discrimination on the basis of a mental disability and obtaining relief in federal district court. These findings, however, are extremely limited due to the data available.
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