Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Christine A. Reid


The purpose of this quantitative, non-experimental, retrospective research study was to examine the charges of disability-related, private-sector workplace discrimination made by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To date, there has been a lack of research regarding the nature, scope and dynamics of employment discrimination affecting individuals with ASDs.A portion of the EEOC's Integrated Mission Systems (IMS) database was analyzed, drawing upon the following five major categories: (1) charging-party demographics, (2) responding-party characteristics, (3), U.S. region, (4) ADA Title I discrimination charge categories, and (e) case resolutions. All charges that were received, investigated, and fully resolved by the EEOC from July 26, 1992 (the first date the ADA went in effect through September 30, 2003 (last day of fiscal year 2003), were available for analyses.First, an exploratory descriptive design was employed, in order to capture the characteristics (or profile) of the ADA Title I charges of discrimination made to the EEOC by individuals with ASDs.The second phase of the study, comparative in nature, contrasted the ASD profile against three groups of individuals with other types of disabilities: (1) other physical, sensory, and neurological disabilities, (2) emotional or psychological disabilities, and (3) mental retardation. Overall, the use of Fisher's exact tests and t-Tests for independent groups revealed that the profile of ASD charges has relatively more in common with the charge profile for mental retardation than the other two comparative groups.The third phase of this study, predictive in nature, explored whether or not the final EEOC case resolutions of ASD charges (considered simply as merit vs. non-merit resolutions) could be predicted as a function of some of the contextual variables available within the database. Logistic regression analysis revealed that ASD case resolutions can be partially predicated as a function of: (1) the employer's industry (i.e., Service industries vs. all other industries), and (2) the size of the employer.


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