Objective: The outcomes of employment discrimination charges filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by individuals with psychiatric disabilities and those with other disabilities were compared.
Methods: Data obtained from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) consisted of all ADA employment claims closed as of March 31, 1998. Charges were categorized by whether they were investigated by the EEOC or by a Fair Employment Practice Agency (FEPA).
Results: Of the 175,226 charges filed, 83.2 percent were closed by March 31, 1998. Of these, 15.7 percent brought some kind of benefit to charging parties, although only 1.7 percent resulted in new hires or reinstatements. Of charges investigated by FEPAs, 23.3 percent led to some benefit, compared with 11.5 percent of charges investigated by the EEOC. Of charges investigated by the EEOC, the median actual monetary benefit was $5,646, compared with $2,400 for charges investigated by FEPAs. A total of 13.6 percent of charges filed by individuals with psychiatric disabilities resulted in benefits, compared with a benefit rate of 16 percent for persons with other disabilities. The median actual monetary benefit received by persons with psychiatric disabilities was $5,000, compared with $3,500 for those with nonpsychiatric disabilities. Individuals whose charges were investigated in the first three years of ADA implementation were more likely to receive benefits than individuals whose charges were investigated more recently.
Conclusions: Most employment discrimination charges filed under the ADA do not result in benefits or a finding of reasonable cause. Outcomes for people with psychiatric disabilities do not differ substantially from those for people with other disabilities.