Disputing Under the Americans with Disabilities Act: Empirical Answers, and Some Questions
16 Pages Posted: 15 May 2001
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been the subject of controversy ever since it took effect. Critics argue that it has inspired a barrage of claims brought by people who do not have serious disabilities, that most cases of employment discrimination brought under the ADA involve people who already have jobs, and that this avalanche of frivolous claims may produce a backlash by businesses, ultimately hurting the very people the law was meant to help. In contrast, disability advocates have expressed strong concerns that the federal courts have interpreted the ADA far more narrowly than Congress intended, holding that plaintiffs with significant impairments do not meet the statute's definition of a qualified person with a disability and incorrectly dismissing legitimate claims brought by people the law was designed to protect. This paper contributes to an assessment of the ADA based on data, rather than prior principles. The paper briefly reviews research and theory on disputing; applies disputing theory to data from our ongoing research on ADA employment discrimination administrative claims; reviews American Bar Association data on ADA federal court final decisions; and concludes with some interpretations of the ADA and our own data - and more questions.
Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, employment discrimination, disputing theory
JEL Classification: J7, J71, J79, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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By Ruth Colker