"People with psychiatric disabilities were less likely to receive a monetary award or job-related benefit, more likely to feel as though they were not treated fairly during the legal proceedings and more likely to believe they received less respect in court," said Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., a study investigator and an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center.
"When people with disabilities sue their employers for discriminating against them, they are hoping to achieve a tangible result, such as getting their job back or receiving some monetary compensation," Swanson said. "But that's not the only thing that matters. They want to be heard and treated fairly. Sometimes that alone can signal victory for a plaintiff, but if that doesn't happen, it can add insult to injury."
The findings appear in the current issue (Volume 66, Issue 1) of the Maryland Law Review. The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
The researchers said the study is the first to examine how individuals with psychiatric disabilities fare in the court system.
The ADA gives people who believe they have experienced employment discrimination due to a physical or mental disability the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). If they do not receive what they consider a satisfactory outcome, they are entitled to file a lawsuit.
The EEOC and the court system rely on the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to determine which psychiatric illnesses fall under ADA protection. Recognized diseases include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and most anxiety disorders.
The study team, which included researchers from three universities, reviewed court settlements and judicial decisions from 4,114 cases filed between 1993 and 2001. Team members also conducted telephone interviews with a representative sampling of 148 plaintiffs who had a psychiatric disability and 222 plaintiffs who had a physical disability, to find out how they felt about the outcome of their case.
The researchers found that 37 percent of plaintiffs with psychiatric disabilities received a settlement from the defendant or a court ruling in their favor, compared with 49 percent of plaintiffs with physical disabilities.
"A common complaint about the ADA is that the law is a boon for people with psychiatric and other 'trivial' disabilities, and our research shows this isn't correct," said Kathryn Moss, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and head of disability research at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "We have consistently found that painfully few people with psychiatric disabilities receive protection from the ADA's employment discrimination enforcement system."
The study participants' perceptions reflected case outcomes, the researchers said. Nineteen percent of plaintiffs with psychiatric disabilities felt the presiding judge had treated both sides fairly, compared with 31 percent of plaintiffs with physical disabilities. Thirty-nine percent of plaintiffs with psychiatric disabilities felt they were treated respectfully during the legal process, compared with 52 percent of plaintiffs with physical disabilities. Nineteen percent of plaintiffs with psychiatric disabilities reported that they were satisfied with the overall experience of filing a lawsuit, compared with 36 percent of those with physical disabilities.
"The findings shed light on a significant problem that needs to be addressed through continuing education of judges, lawyers and others responsible for enforcing the ADA," said study team member Scott Burris, James E. Beasley professor of law at Temple University. "It's not enough to give people employment rights on paper. The legal system has the responsibility to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to vindicate their rights in practice."
Other researchers involved in the study were Leah Ranney and Michael Ullman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Tracey Koepke | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences