Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by and welcome to the Comparison of Employment Disability Discrimination Claims with Other Statutes Across U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Fair Employment Practice Agencies Nationally conference call. At this time all of the participants are in the listen only mode. Later we will conduct a questions and answers session, and at that time if you would like to ask a question, you may do so by pressing the 1 on your touch tone phone. As a reminder the conference is being recorded today April 17th 2007. I would now like to turn the conference over to Robin Jones, please go ahead.
Thank you very much and good afternoon everyone or good morning depending on where you are calling from. First and foremost I want to thank everybody for joining us for this session today. This program is being provided for you by the network of Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers, which there are 10 across the country, providing technical assistance, trainings, consultations on the Americans with Disabilities Act. This session today is actually replacing a previously scheduled session, and I am glad that everyone was able to join us and I am also thrilled that our speakers were able to join us today. This is a follow up to our last month session where we heard from Dr. Brian McMahon from Virginia Commonwealth University related to their study that they are engaged in looking at the EEOC data. And the session today is really looking at the EEOC data in a little different way than what we discussed and heard from last month. So I think you will find this to be a great experience. Just to remind everybody, we will be engaged in a question and answer period and we will be giving you instructions on how to ask those questions. We have individuals who have joined us in both telephone as well as streaming audio on the internet, and real-time captioning. So we have a variety of different technologies being used today. This session is being audio recorded and as well as a written transcript is being created. We will be editing and posting that transcript on to the www.ada-audio.org website 7 to 10 business days following the conclusion of this session. So if you are interested in reviewing it or you are interested in reviewing last month''s session in comparison of that information that is all available to you online. I am going to go ahead and get us started today. We have three individuals who are joining us for this program. All of them are with Cornell University, Program on Employment and Disability out of Ithaca, New York. Leading us off today is going to be Dr. Susanne Bruyére and she is the Director of the Program on Employment and Disability at Cornell, and she is currently the Project Director and Principle Investigator of numerous research efforts. Three of them are funded by the Department of Education National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research, they include the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center for Economic Research on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities which is a 4 year project. And she is involved with SHRM and some other organizations in relationships to that. She is involved in some disability related issues with Discrimination Act in Britain and also involved with President''s Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities. So she has got a wealth of experience in activities that she is involved in bringing to us today with that. We are also being joined by Andrew Houtenville who is a PhD also with Cornell. His work is to investigate patterns of demographics characteristics of employment and economic participation of people with disabilities and the implications of the government program. He is the Project Director of a grant with the Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, called the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability and Demographics Statistics. He is also a Principle Investigator of many other programs and activities. Also joining us today is Antonio Ruiz-Quintanilla. He is also a Senior Research Associate with the Cornell University and currently he is the Principal Investigator with the Disability Business Technical Assistance Center for the Northeast region of the country and he has also research and teaching positions in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Japan and the US. So he has quite an international perspective. He is also currently involved in research activities and projects identifying demographics and trends with the EEOC data, charges that have been filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act since 1990, where a lot of the information that we are doing today is taken from. I think that tells you that we have an excellent and a very skilled group of people with us today. For the full biographies of these speakers you can access that from the www.ada-audio.org website. So without further ado, I am going to go ahead and turn it over to you Susanne. You can start to have a discussion with folks about your studies and what your findings are. I think they will find them very interesting. Everyone should have been able to access the information that has been provided for by the speakers and they will be following along with those during the course of this presentation. Take it off. Susanne Bruyére: All right. Thank you very much Robin. And thank you all for the opportunity to address you today on a study that we are working on at Cornell University. This is to some of you will not be new information that we are working on this. Many of you we have engaged in discussions early on as we became involved in this project trying to find out how to shape our inquiry in a way that the out coming data would be useful to DBTACs in their technical assistance and information efforts. So we are pleased for the opportunity to come back to you, to tell you about the progress in some of our analysis and to begin a dialogue about how this might be useful to you and the timing appears to be very good because it compliments the presentation that you had in March from our colleague Brian McMahon who has also had this data but is using it a little differently and how he is approaching some of his publications. So I think you will find this a timely compliment to that prior presentation. We see this also as a compliment to other work that we have come to present to you. And I will just mention that Cornell has a number of projects that we either directly or as a compliment, we feel support the implementation of the ADA. As many of you may know, we served as a materials development center and we served as a research and demonstration projects on employers policies and practices implementing the Title I both of which NIDRR has funded. And in that process we were intricately involved with the DBTAC Centers looking at, as a group we looked at employers'' policies and practices. We see looking at the employment discrimination claims data that the enforcer of Title I the EEOC has another piece of information to compliment our earlier efforts and other things efforts such as employment policies and disability statistics that Robin mentioned. We see this as a part of that and we will in this inquiry we are using some of our data sets and our skills from prior knowledge from the other projects to inform this process. But let me move on and talk a little bit about, I am on Slide 3 right now and I have just given you a bit of an overview of this project. The actual name of the project is the EEOC Employment Discrimination Charge Data System for Research and Dissemination Purposes. And this is what we are doing today is a part of what we hope to accomplish in Year 3, and that is reach out to our DBTAC partners. The data source is the EEOC Charge Data System, and as you know it is a computerized data system which includes detailed information on every chart the EEOC receives as well as those that are duly filed with the Fair Employment Practice Agencies in the state specific levels. So one of the things that is different about our work from what you have heard, certainly it is the same data set as you learned about last time around but we have chosen to keep the state specific claim as well in this analysis. So although the over-arching findings may be similar in terms of the issues, it does present a robust group of claims that we are dealing with. And we also at distinction here in this NIDRR funded project which is a field initiated project, is that we are looking over a longer term period. We wanted to look from shortly after the implementation of the ADA to date when we are able to get the data when the project started two years ago. So we have a 10-year time line of 1993 to 2003. Our over arching purpose in this inquiry is to examine trend information and employment discrimination charges. And of course our focus is the ADA but to further inform what is happening with the ADA, we felt the useful comparison to look at it relative to what is happening with other laws to see if there is changes over time or state specific distinction, is that different is that unique to the ADA or and different from other laws or are there common patterns which would mean that it is not just a function of disability claims that there is something else that is going on, we are assuming if the trends are similar. So we are going to talk a little bit about how that plays out today and how we present to you. On Page 4, therefore our presentation purpose is to describe this Charge Data System which we believe is a useful tool in exploring differences. As we are going to focus on today, we are interested in some of the differences between what kinds of claims and overtime any changes at both the EEOC offices and the FEPA offices. We are hoping that by so doing we are going to inform and add to our understanding where specific issues of employment disability discrimination continued to occur across the composite and the individual of filings in this database. And we want some time and we want your good feedback about the implications that we see and then hopefully that you can help us to understand better what this means for you. We still have more analyses to do and it would help us to understand how to make that as useful as possible if you tell us what in this jumps out at you. What is a useful way to present some of the distinctions we are finding and what further inquiry we could do to refine our presentation of information in the reminder of our project time On Page 5, in the time we have with you over the next hour we are going to talk about why we think it is worth our time and yours to describe it to you, to look at EEOC and FEPA claims. Both set of claims not just one part of a database and why we think it is useful to look at over time and some of the things we are finding. We are going to give you information about ADA related claims but as I mentioned as part of what we are trying to do is to see if trends differ between what we see in the disability related discrimination claims and that of other employment protection legislation that is enforced by the EEOC which is also included in this data set. And we will begin to talk about some state specific differences and the proportion of disability employment discrimination filings between EEOC and FEPA. We have a basic set of slides to share with you. In your questions we may be able to embellish upon some of these things verbally as well. And we want to leave you with what we see as the top five ADA issues and basis in our EEOC and FEPA filings. And why we think it has been worth our time to dig a little further and look at the state specific differences why they may be important. Any of you who work with your state legislation I know you promote the distinctions, the advocacy communities you work with. So I think it would be quite clear to you but we will certainly talk about that and more specifically we want to talk about how you might find this information useful going forward, how it might inform your dissemination technical assistance and training. Moving on to Slide 6, why an interest in EEOC and FEPA ADA related charges? And certainly when we started this research inquiry we look broadly at what was in the database. It soon became evident to us that if we just focused on one piece or the other we would be missing half the information to inform our research. The EEOC charges filed represent half of all the ADA charges held in this database. So we made the decisions for purposes of this initial inquiry but probably throughout much of our analyses to look at the entire data set. And as we look at this first round of the descriptive statistics, some interesting things popped out that confirmed the importance of doing that. One being that the Fair Employment Protection Agencies offices proportionate of the charges filed has increased over the 10 years to almost half and we will share that the specific of those trends with you. We also find that there are distinct differences in the portions of ADA filing between the offices when one looks more closely on a state by state basis. And that these, some of these trends are not true for other employment discrimination laws. So it appears that there is something unique to disability discrimination that may be driving individual behaviors in particular state, either to or away from filing with an EEOC or a FEPA office. We feel that these distinctions are particularly important to people like yourself who provide training and technical assistance on a regional and state specific basis. We believe that our findings have implications for technical assistance and educational purposes regarding the guidance that you provide your target populations on employment discrimination protection and because we think there is some state specific distinction. So moving on to some of the content that we have come to share with you. The first is we want to take a look at the basic information about, again why we think it is important that the proportion of charges that were being filed in the states specific FEPA offices have increased over the 10 years that we are looking at, 1993 to 2003, to almost half of all ADA related charges. And Andrew and Tony have presented some slides to help us illustrate this here on Page 8, you see along the left the 10 years that we are looking at. The first column represents the total number of, we are looking only at disability related employment discrimination claims, ADA related claims, the total across the 10 years 328,001. And then a break down by years you can see on the average there is between 25 to 30 some thousand claims per year across both of these two agency possibilities of filing. And as you can see 176,758 had been EEOC and 151,243 FEPA for an average of about 54% overall have been EEOC filed claims. But as you look down over the years from 1993 to 2003, as you can see at a high of in 1993 the first full year of the implementation of Title I, we had a high of almost 59% EEOC and that has gone down to 49.4%, percentage of that total over the ten year period. So it would appear in looking at this, that gradually more people have migrated in their claims to filing in FEPA offices and less appear to be filing in proportionately in the EEOC. I am going to move on to Page 9. This is just an overall schematic, no surprise probably to use that after a start out in the first year where we only had six months since July 26 of the implementation in 1992. That we had pretty much applied to the fluctuation up and down as I mentioned, there is a range there around 5,000 cases but pretty consistent in that range over the 10 years that we were looking at. And when you looked broadly overtime at ADA related charges in both the EEOC and the FEPA offices. When you look at the next slide, I am now on Page 10 of your slide. When you look distinctly at the pool as a whole divided between the EEOC and the FEPA related claims, this is the source of where they are filed. As you see here, in the beginning that proportion number that we just gave you is evidence in this graph that the EEOC claims were the greater proportion of overall claims being made and then gradually they have met or pretty much evenly distributed across the two potential filing processes as we get out to the end of the time period that we have been looking at 2003. Now on the next page, Page 11, this is a visual schematic of what you saw on that earlier graph. It''s the percentage of FEPA claims of the overall, from a low of 41% to a high of close to 50% over that 10 year period. So this shows you how gradually the percentages increased for FEPA. I will pause there for a minute before I go on to the next level of description of our findings. Let me stop and Andrew, Tony and I will take any questions you may have immediately on this part of our presentation.
Okay. Go ahead Operator.
Ladies and gentlemen we will now begin the question and answer session. If you have a question please press the 1 on your touch phone question. If your question has been answered and you wish to withdraw your request, you may do so by pressing the pound key. Questions will be answered in the order they are received. One moment please, for the first question. Once again if you would like to ask a question please press the 1 on your touch tone phone now.
Susanne, while we are waiting to see if anybody has a question The percentile increase can you attribute it to anything specific for example increase knowledge that people have about their rights or more at promotion of these issues in the process of the people feel more comfortable. Are you really probably not able to grab that kind of stuff out of the data you have or any other study that you have seen or been involved with it kind of would attribute why there is an increase? Susanne Bruyére: I''m going to give you my quick response and then I will ask Andrew and Tony if they like to chime in. Certainly that''s what, we do see a change and that''s the next level of inquiry for us. Some of which we are hoping we can get out of the data and complimentary data, that Andrew who heads up the Disability Statistics and Demographics Center can help us with because he has other data sets that we can use in combination with this. We are limited in only making inferences at the individual level but one of the things we were have been curious about as is the EEOC, is there changes of trends that might have been impacted by significant federal rulings like the Supreme Court cases. And we will talk a little bit about, although we haven''t actually presented it here but we can talk a little about what we begun to do to take a look at state specific changes that may have occurred pre and post Sutton and we will talk about that. So we are drilling down, we are trying to be able to as best we can with solid data to make some beginning hypothesis of what might be driving some of these distinctions and I am sure your anecdotal personal ideas about what that might be from changes in TA overtime might indeed at the state specific levels might indeed informed that inquiry. And I am going to pause there and ask Andrew or Tony if they would like to add. Antonio?
A little comment to this, if you look at Page 8, it is not increasing, it is decreasing. Actually what is happening is that you kind of get less EEOC charges and about the same FEPA. What is happening is really that mainly kind of the EEOC over the years it''s not large amounts, but if you look at it and you can also see it from the top what is actually happening is that you will see kind of gets reduce to the same level as the FEPA more or less was over the last years. Again you know all of this is kind of merged over all states, so obviously what is hidden behind here is, it might well be that there are different kind of trends within the states.
Yeah, let me state also further that it is very hard with this kind of data to actually tease out causation like this is the effect. And at best we can get a correlation that there was an association between, whether it is a direct cause and effect relationship it is really hard to do with, kind of time series time tracking data. One thing that we initially thought of was that, there are a lot of states where there are only FEPA offices and there are states are large proportionate that FEPA takes in most of the charges for that state. And there are states that don''t have FEPA offices, so it is all EEOC charges. And we thought that there might be a shift in the population in United States towards the states that have FEPA related offices. And we did some analysis that looked at the changes in the composition of the population in the United States as it shifts basically the US population is shifting from the northeast, midwest to the south and west. And we are basically ruled that out as a potential contributing factor. It actually didn''t change the time trend too much if we held constant that the proportion of the population that are in each given state. And so we are continuing as Susanne said, we are continuing to investigate other reasons that this decline could stay in. And Tony is pointing it out accurately that this is really seen as a decline In EEOC charges rather than a certain shifting from one or the other.
Yeah and when we look at that just because we have a variety of people who are on this call today that some of them are more or less knowledgeable on some of these things, can you just for a little snippet explain the Fair Employment Practices offices and when you say one state may not have any EEOC, it''s all Fair Employment or what ever, what that might be or what might that constitute. Just so everybody is on the same page. Susanne Bruyére: I will start again. One of the illuminating things for us in this 3 year process have been finding out about the different ways of processing claims. The EEOC in specific states signed work share agreements with state agencies who may either be the initial, initially take the claim and there is an agreement in each state or maybe where the individual can have their claim dually filed and there is not a -- there are different numbers of these agencies in each state and where one of the things we are seeing is where there is large EEOC offices they may be more of a magnet for claims filing but it also appears it has something to do with the issues and the protections afforded by state legislation whether or not the individual might elect as well as proximity might elect to file a claim with FEPA rather than EEOC. Does anybody want to add to that, Andrew or Tony?
For the people who are interested Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi don''t have any FEPA offices. And this is because you know these are actually also the offices that everybody will know immediately that don''t have any state law protection. And that''s why they don''t have these offices because you can''t actually file ADA related files in these states.
Yeah on the state level. So that''s why it''s obviously that nobody that EEOC could do a contract with. But the point is, the whole picture is really relatively complex. In addition because it is not only this, obviously as you can imagine also depends where actually in the states an office might be located. So whether it''s some where central where people can reach it or whether that''s somewhere more close to the state line. And the other thing is also you know that you really you have some which have a lot of FEPA offices in the state and others which have one or two. So however you can imagine it is very difficult you know to get it statistically but you can imagine it along the different regional locations of the FEPA and the number of FEPA offices will have an impact too on where people end up when they decide to file a charge. I mean remember that these numbers we are talking about is just people who kind of entered one of these offices and decide to file a charge, whether there is a reason behind it or not, that is not what we are considering at the moment. We are just considering that somebody felt that they have been discriminated against and they take the step to make it official by going to that state office be it the EEOC one or the FEPA one. Andrew?
Yeah, I just have one comment that is kind of related. I don''t want people to get too excited to think that we actually have state information about people filing under the state law. This is only information on whether people file claims under federal statute. You know whether they, that would be a separate data systems that would be probably state to state, that we never seen any in existence, they may be out there. But please don''t get excited and say oh I want to see what people are filing at my state for our state law, because we don''t have state law represented directly in this file.
Thanks for the clarification. Operator, are there any more questions before we have them go on?
Unfortunately, no one has queued up for a question.
Ok go ahead then Susanne. Susanne Bruyére: All right. So we are going to pick up with Page 12. As we mentioned in the first set of slides we see a change in the proportion of EEOC and FEPA claims disability discrimination over time. So the next question would be for us is, is something happening where the ADA is concerned? Or is it a change that is occurring that we would see across other employment discrimination charges as well, related to other pieces of legislation? So our next level of analyses is represented on the results of that is represented on Page 13, where we did some trends taking a look at ADA. And here -- this is just the FEPA claims, so that we can take a look at it. If those distinction seem to be growing was occurring in other things. And as you can see here there is not a similar trend, there is actually a downward trend in the Title VII, the Civil Rights Act claims being filed through FEPA offices. And there is a downward trend in the Age Discrimination Employment Act legislation claims being filed. Again in the FEPA offices over this 10 year period. I am going to do another layer of information before we pause again. You may have some questions about this particular slide, but let me go on and share with you the next level of information. We see distinctions in the trends between different types of employment protections and where people are filing. So then we decided we would take a look at some of the state specific differences and where ADA claims are being filed. We have looked at it as aggregate trends before. And now on Page 15, you see a map that visually gives you a quick reference about on the ADA related charges. We know that the increase is occurring in filings in the FEPA office and indeed as Tony was mentioning, there are distinctions in which states we see some of these changes occurring. Here represents as a function of lots of things, we are not quite sure all of what might drive this. But we see from the percentage of the FEPA claims of the overall charges in our data set being less than 25% in those lightly shaded to more than 75% of the total number of disability employment discrimination charges being filed in the other states that are marked with the darker hue. So you can take a look at those of you calling in from your respective areas and get a quick fix on in your state, which of these offices are drawing most of the people who feel that they have an alleged disability employment discrimination charged occurring? Thanks to Andrew and his team, a nice schematic to quickly represent this kind of information. On Page 16, on the accompanying chart, we see as Tony was mentioning, more specific information about particular states. And again this is with an emphasis these percentages are the percentage where people are filing not in the EEOC but in the FEPA offices. And they are by greatest percentage of people filing in FEPA from the least. As you can see the range is very wide, from a high of 96% in Maine, almost all of the claims are being filed in Maine in FEPA offices compared to Alabama, as it is one of the states that Tony just mentioned that is less than .5%. So find your states and you got a pretty good of what is happening in your particular state there. So I think I will go on, Tony and Andrew, so that we get the rest of the information out and then we will be happy to backtrack and go through further explanation on each of these and then we will take more questions and then we will go on to our discussion about implications for the DBTACs. So the next thing that we wanted to take a look at, we have looked at the trends for the ADA claims over years, we have look at the comparison of how those trends compared to other related employment discrimination protection legislation, and then we have looked at the state specific differences for ADA related claims. And the next step for us was to take a look at among the issues that individuals were filing for. And by those issues I mean what were the particular areas in work place policies or practices where those discrimination, the alleged discrimination occurred. And the basis which means in the language of the EEOC Charge Data System what was the disability related area that the person filed the claim within. We wanted to look and see if, what are the top 5 across our whole database including both EEOC and FEPA related charges together. But we also now became interested in looking at, now that we are seeing distinctions in trends, distinctions in state specific fillings, are there differences between these two filing options to people where the highest issues and basis are concerned? So, Slide 18 present across employment related policy and procedure related areas where people could file a claim under. These are the top issues, they are the same top issues across both which is comforting because it means that the data, it''s comforting in some ways and alarming in others that those issues keep occurring no matter where the person files. They are happening across both the FEPA and EEOC. Number one I think these will be no surprises to any of you who are providing technical assistance and training and information dissemination for our DBTACs partners. Number one is discharge, the total charges over that 10 year period being 179,000 and the bulk of them being filed but again it is pretty much half and half here. 54% with EEOC but it is the number one item for both EEOC and FEPA charges. That is followed by reasonable accommodation. And interestingly here, two thirds, better than two thirds filed in EEOC offices on reasonable accommodation. You know, you might be able to tell us are the EEOC offices, may be they are perceived as being more knowledgeable we are not sure why that might be. Third is terms and conditions of employment and interestingly here there is a flip flop, 40% filed in the EEOC, more the bulk filed 60% in the FEPA offices. And again a flip flop, again when we look at the fourth item harassment, more filed 61% in EEOC offices compared to FEPA. And then the last in hiring, closer to an even match but still 55% a few more filed their claims in the EEOC offices. We can certainly come back to this. I think these are areas that are probably be fertile for discussions with the DBTACs who I know provide advisement to individual the people and the claimants and the employers all the time. Moving on to the nature of the disability itself that people may be filing employment discrimination, disability employment discrimination claims for. And here you are going to see that there is a time difference, we have snubbed up the time line from the 10 year period to an 8 year period. And the reason is, we found and any of you who have been providing technical assistance for over the 15, 16 years since the implementation of the ADA perhaps will recall this, but in a couple years out from the implementation of the ADA the EEOC changed the categories that was reporting under. And so that has made it difficult for us to do a direct parallel. They did a further division under mental health disability breaking out for example depression and some other changes. So, we used data where there wouldn''t be that kind of questions about categories carrying over. That''s why you see a snubbed up time line in our data here 1993 to 2003. And in this again, similarly we find that there is some very significant similarities on what is seen as some top basis for a discrimination filing. There is certainly a catch all categories other disabilities, the highest one for both and that is 43% of the EEOC claims. One that has been consistently over the 15, 16 years since the implementation of the ADA, back impairment our highest next one with being at about 53% filing an EEOC pretty evenly spread between the different places they could file EEOC and FEPA. Next, regarding as disabled and interestingly here and over the next three, it appears that more claimants elect to file for this type of basis in EEOC offices and the same is true all although not as quite significantly, 68% for regarding as disabled, 62% for non-paralytic orthopedic impairment which is number four, and depression 64% more often file in EEOC offices than FEPA offices. The last is another is other psychiatric related disorders and interestingly enough, the reverse is true here, where 40% on average file with EEOC offices compared to the FEPA offices. And as noted in the chart at the bottom, charges can have more than one basis. So people may have filed under more than one category. Now, I am going to pause there. We would like some time in talking with you but we certainly have, we are only half way through our time plenty of time to talk about the implications for the DBTACs. So let''s stop and talk about this. We ran through quite a few slides. I would like to have you go back to where we paused before, I think we picked up on Page 14 and let''s see if you have any questions about the charts and the information that we shared from Pages 14 through 19.
Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen if you would like to ask a question please touch 1 on your touch phone now. Please go ahead.
Hi, my question is in regards to the statistic for the other disabilities, does that include individuals with the hearing loss and vision loss? Susanne Bruyére: No, they have their own category. They just didn''t show up in the top five or six. What we can do is we can tell you that, it''s about 3,328 claims for hearing impairment over a 10 year period ADA related claims. For the hearing impairment, because of the numbers it didn''t show up on our top. They certainly have their own category. Did you want to add to that Tony?
Yes, it might actually be a bit little higher, because the number Susanne just referred for are ones who are only filling that once, it''s not where we have kind of like double.
They are only filing under the ADA. Susanne Bruyére: Yeah, I am looking at a chart, a separate chart you don''t have, from other analysis we did. And what Tony is making the distinction that some of the comparison we just shared with you included dually filed charges and in the number I just gave you it does not. So it is probably less than it actually is, if you count the dually filed.
The other category is not a catch all category that we created, there are about 38 or so disability types that EEOC and FEPA, maybe more than that.
I think the questions is really important because of the again what you don''t see from our little table which you looked at, is you know that in part of this is the number, you see but it''s from the other. In part the number depends how broad the category is. And some of these categories which you see is using for the basis are actually relatively specific like chemical sensitivity while other ones like you know the back injury one for example is relatively broad. So I mean obviously that is part of the two categories and as more prominent or less prominent. Although it doesn''t do anything really to our feedback you will see comparison. I mean it is interesting to see that the same categories, I mean there are two possibilities either you know people with certain basis tend to go more to the EEOC than the FEPA offices or the other way round. Or that actually these offices interpret the categories in different ways, I mean that obviously is a different option. That for example one of the offices tends to go with other disabilities, we are not sure why the other one, I am not saying, I don''t know, I am just saying these two options exist.
So, vision loss was not even included in the number? Susanne Bruyére: Vision is 2,332 on the chart I am looking at. So that again is by comparison, we took the ones with 5,000 or more. So by the comparison it falls lower in that priority, lower in where the numbers are concerned.
One thing to know is we are in the process of submitting an article on this. And the full tables are available upon request. When you do a power point you can''t give a massive table with 40 plus rows in it. So the hearing impairment and vision impairment are not included in the other categories, they are indeed separate categories. We just chose not to report them, we only reported the top few categories.
Thank you. Susanne Bruyére: That''s an excellent question though. There are just for example to show you the ones that are less than 100, there is a dwarfism, autism, cystic fibrosis. So there is a broad representation of disabilities, like tuberculosis that the EEOC has created categories for. Actually I think some of these are ones that were created from 1995 on because we didn''t see them in the first cohort, and as claims came in there was a recognition we needed to create new categories for them. But they are also not very prevalent related claims. So although the EEOC captures the data, we have the data for purposes of highlighting high profile areas of concern. We have elected to share with you the top five or six. Other questions?
Once again ladies and gentlemen and if you would like to ask a question please press the one on your touch tone phone now. There are no further questions. Susanne Bruyére: Okay. Great we would like to go on and talk about implications for the DBTACs. And as a way, without presumption, of thinking that we know how all the ways you can use this data or how it could be useful. We want to throw out a few ideas we had and then we want to get the benefit of hearing how you think it might be useful, what are some remaining questions you have that might inform our analyses to the extent our data includes information or the ability to respond to it that we might try to mine out the data for you going forward, if we are able.
Just to be clear, the audience is more than just the DBTACs, so there are people here who have interests in a variety of different places or standpoints. Susanne Bruyére: And Robin, thank you. You did tell me that, I should have remembered that. Thanks for that. I think that we are happy to have all kind of examples. We are working with the advocacy organizations on this. We are getting information for protection and advocacy organizations. We also work with SHRM, with AARP, one of the areas, Andrew is just reminding me now, we have spent quite a bit of time on, is looking at how claims have changed overtime where there is a migration of charges from the disability area to the aging area and reverse. We find quite interesting with the aging work force we think there is interesting things to explore with the trend differences that might occur over time with that cohort. And both the EEOC and the American Association of Retired Persons look forward to working with us to explore that. So, indeed we believe the utility is broad for this, so please do not take my focus on the DBTACs, which I know are the sponsors of this, as a singular interest on our part about finding how broadly these might used. So that is a good opening caveat to slide 20 where I said implications for DBTACs and it should have been for the world and beyond. Because we do want this to be very broadly useful. First of all, we want to make the case that we have become, in our learning process in this, increasingly convinced of that it is important to not only learn about the ADA and its implications for protections for individuals, but it''s important to have knowledge of state disability non-discrimination legislation. That state legislation may provide greater protections and you may find that there are differences between the offices where you can file as well if in your state you have an EEOC or a FEPA office. Which relates to the second one here, the knowledge of the respective state discrimination claims offices may be different or distinct, and if you are advising people about where to get further information it would be up to you to find out if there are alternative options in your respective communities. And also as we are beginning to explore, knowledge of how higher court rulings might impact where greater protections occur. One of the dialogues that we have had with I know someone who is a partner for the region five Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center, and a valued advisor for many of us is Barry Taylor, Equip for Equality. And Barry called to our attention an analysis he had done in 2003 looking at seven mid-western states, some of which provided protections even with mitigating measures and the others did not. We began to look at in those states did changes occur over time. Taking a look at where the charges get filed in the context of the greater legal environment, I think is another layer of information that is important for anyone advising individuals about their rights or employers about their responsibilities. And so lastly we believe that has implications for anyone providing technical assistance, information, dissemination, and training. I will pause to see if Andrew or Tony have anything to add about that. OK, Robin I would like to open it up, I would like to know who is out there. If you know this yourself, we would welcome kind of a litmus about the group, or if people would like to introduce yourself when you ask a question, it would be great to know the context from which your question comes from so perhaps we can more directly respond to your interests.
Ladies and gentlemen we will now start with the question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question, please press the one on your touch-tone phone. If your question has been answered and you wish to withdraw your request, you may do so by pressing the pound key. Questions will be answered in the order they are received. One moment please for the first question.
Just a comment here. I think a more useful analysis would be to try to determine a win loss record in the aggregate in comparison of the process. I think that would be significantly useful I would think. Susanne Bruyére: You are speaking of the win loss record as a comparison between claims filed in the EEOC and the FEPA offices, is that correct?
The differences between the two offices but also as an aggregate, so I can get an idea of the effectiveness of the claims of the laws. Susanne Bruyére: That analysis has been done you know if you are interested you can shoot us an e-mail and we can get that reference for you on that. There is someone who has looked at that as well as looked at court cases once a letter to sue has been issued. There are other people certainly as you know from the presentation last month we are not the only people using the data or looking at discrimination claims. We are happy to share with you, one of the things we feel a responsibility for is to keep alert about where are the complementary researches occurring and inform our own analyses with that, so we are certainly happy to point you in the direction of other researchers, that work has been done. Andrew?
In particular it''s Katherine Moss and her colleagues. They used the same data, an earlier iteration of this data source. And they also did worked with what happened after the right to sue letter occurs and we don''t necessarily have information once they go out I believe that''s correct.
What would be their website address?
Go to Google Scholar and you will find lots of things I am sure. Susanne Bruyére: Katherine is at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
In general, and I always get this wrong, I believe she found FEPA was more likely to award a remedy, but a smaller remedy, a lower dollar amount. That''s a very brief synopsis. It kind of makes sense that the more cases they allow, you are letting in cases that more and more on the margins so they would likely be smaller awards, it is one possible explanation of what we are finding. Susanne Bruyére: She also focuses on if anyone is interested on psychiatric disabilities in several of her publications. So if you have a distinct interest in mental health related claims, she is certainly an excellent resource.
Thank you. Susanne Bruyére: Certainly.
Once again, if you would like to ask a question, please press the one on you touch tone phone now. Susanne Bruyére: We have a question from our end.
Hold on one second, we actually do have a question, if you would like to take that? Susanne Bruyére: Yes, we will take that.
I am just curious about your basis of what might be characterized as ''regarded as disabled'' came up so high on your total charges I guess that was a surprise to me. And I don''t know if there is any way to tease out why that is. Is there some association between that and the issues? For example, discharge.
One thing that comes to mind, and we would have to do a more specific runs for the data. You know, these things can be, you can file more than one basis when you file a suit. So we can look at how many charges is regarded as disability claimed only, as the only source. It may be the fact that it ranked so high because it is claimed in concert with the other more specific types of disabilities. Susanne Bruyére: Right here, 6,222 is what I have as discrete.
No, that is only ADA, they may have filed under different basis.
I think the comment to say that it is about 960, so close to 1,000 of these are actually people who also filed under the ADEA, age related claims and then in addition they filed as regarded a disability from the disability side. So clearly that''s why, at least some people about 1,000 people you have to add on because these are people who preliminary went with the age related and then added the disability claim to it. Susanne Bruyére: So let me also, thank you Tony and Andrew, let me also just say that the ADA is the first time it afforded anyone the opportunity to file in this way. I am actually quite encouraged and excited that people are using this category because I think it could be a harder category to actually make a case for and yet they are taking seriously the three-prong definition of the ADA and seeing this as a place to exercise to their right. What we haven''t looked at yet is what happens after that. It would be very interesting to see, the gentleman earlier asked about what happens. And it would be interesting to see if people who file under this category do differentially better or worse in the process relative to other types of basis that they could file under. But I actually think it is encouraging that people see this as a legitimate place to try to make a case for the fact that they have been discriminated against. Other questions?
If you would like to ask a question, please press the one on your touch-tone phone now. Susanne Bruyére: We have someone on our end, since it does not sound like you have one in line.
We have two people here. Susanne Bruyére: We have been joined by two of the DBTAC people from Region Two.
I just have a very quick question, I was wondering you were referring to Barry Tyler''s work, I was wondering if there could be a some sort of subtle difference in centralization between the states, because I know there is different laws as to whether you can get monetary relief versus injunctive relief. If that could allow you to report. I know that maybe you can''t take that apart from your data, but I would think that it could provide a kind of structure. Susanne Bruyére: Certainly that could be one of the factors. Did you want to say more about that?
No. Susanne Bruyére: I''ll start and it looks like Andrew has more to add to that. One of the things we have done in the last year-and-a-half is worked very, very closely with colleagues in FEPA, in the EEOC offices and that is one of their observations is that that can be the case, But they also are interested in finding out what this question of when people file in a certain office do they do better. Because they would like to advantage their clients. So we have just really begun that, we haven''t really taken it to that next level of inquiry. They are clear about that drives their behaviors and P and As as they make distinction with individuals about where they should probably bring their claim. And Andrew, you had something else that you wanted to say.
Yeah I think that you raised a good point. One of the reasons why we pursued the FEPA EEOC distinction is because we don''t have state laws information, filings under state laws in an integrated way that we can connect to see what a person does because they have in some states two source of remedies, state law and federal law. Is that we may be able to pick up some of these impacts of state differences in the degree to which they go to their FEPA or EEOC. So I think that you are raising a good point that there could be other factors, not just the type of disabilities but the types of monetary rewards which may be related in lots of different ways. So there might be lots of different factors and you bring up a good one. The other thing is that there is another difference that is kind of underlying this. There may be differences across the agreements that FEPA and EEOC have with each other. I always get the states wrong, but there are states in which it''s not a dual filing. Because most of the time it''s dual filing, so if I file in a FEPA office it''s just like filing in an EEOC office, where you will be covered under state laws and you will be covered under federal law. But there is some where it''s not, so if I went to an EEOC law I will also have to go to a FEPA to file the state claim because there is no reciprocation agreement. And differences in that agreement could really tell us something about the state differences and how things are coordinated between the FEPA and EEOC. Susanne Bruyére: Did you have a follow up question?
No I think the other question we had, I think it has already been addressed. We were wondering if there was any substantial differences to how claims were remediated, resolved, reported between the FEPA process and the EEOC process and I think you have already addressed that.
I have a little bit of a further, you know, one of the reasons why we really focus on the trends and patterns and claims, is because it''s the first step going towards resolution. If you don''t understand the process of what kind of claims are coming in the door, it''s hard to judge the results afterwards because it''s a selection process. What cases are not getting the right to sue, what cases are being pursued by the EEOC. These kind of differences could, you have to understand those differences before you start looking at awards and remedies. Susanne Bruyére: Okay. Other questions? Robin, I am going to toss it back to you and our facilitators to see if there is anyone out there who has questions.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question please press the one on your touch tone phone now. There are no further questions.
Susanne, this is Peter. Susanne Bruyére: Hi, Peter.
I am not sure what happened. I got a question that was submitted online a little lengthy I will try to summarize. An individual wanted to get your thoughts on the fact that reasonable accommodation was the number one issue and whether that was sort of a surprise in that when you look at the unemployment rate for people with disabilities, it''s relatively unchanged since the passage of the ADA. One might think that hiring would be the application, hiring may have been higher than reasonable accommodation when you look at trainings done for the various groups especially for the employers and the time that you spend on the different parts of the ADA requirements and how much time is spent on, the applications and hiring process versus the reasonable accommodation process. Susanne Bruyére: Well, you know, I think this has been a long standing. Let me first give a general comment and I would say I think this is a long standing disappointment from many of us in the disability area because our hope in the design of the ADA was to get more people in the front door to make equitable access in the application process and although I would we are certainly making some gains and the number of people who are filing claims here would suggest that something is occurring. But the reality of it is when you look at reasonable accommodation when you look at discharge, those are higher, they would suggest that these are claims by incumbents rather than people trying to get in the front doors. Although a long standing disappointment, I would say it is no longer a surprise to me that that is what we are seeing. People have a an easier case to make that discrimination has occurred once they are in the work place and are more likely to exercise their rights and discharges is one area of where they do so and being denied or not getting a satisfactory accommodation is certainly another one. It''s less likely that the person is going to be able to make a case that they were discriminated in the hiring process. And I think it''s probably a combination or partly finding it difficult to build the case to get the evidence to do so, and partly because we are still unfortunately not seeing as many people confidently knocking at the front door of employers and the way we had long hoped that the ADA would make a difference in that occurring. I will pause there and see if Tony wants to add to that.
I want to make two comments about it. I mean I think Susanne is very right that obviously it seems to be that it is a lot easier to kind of produce the evidence once you are in the company and you have other people who have the same experience. Most of us go only a single person in a hiring situation. But I think the other thing also what it tells us, I am a psychologist, so it tells us a little bit about psychological investment. Once you are working for a while for a company and you experience something which you think it''s not fair, not okay, then probably have some invested interest to change this. While I may send out 50 applications and probably even if I feel discriminated, I am not going to try to go after these 50 different employers. The last thing I think it tells us is really about the difference between the ADA as a discrimination law and the other laws, because the other laws like the Title VII and the ADA have the advantage that you can actually statistically prove that you have been discriminated against. You just show you know, there are less black people working in the company or that there are more male persons are supervisors and then you have a case. You can show, you know, you have enough people of a certain ethnic background in the regional area of the company and that they just don''t higher them because none of those have a job and then again you have a case. With the ADA, you really have to prove it on a single case basis which makes it obviously especially for hiring a lot more difficult to show that it was not because this and that and qualification but because it was really because of my disability.
I thought you were also going to say Tony because they also don''t collect data on the disability as a part of EEO 1 as data collection, they don''t have people with the disabilities pressing through the firm. Susanne Bruyére: I would also say that the discharge issue is the one that is carries across all laws. One of the things that is interesting to take a look at is that burning issue or predominant issue across all kinds of the employment discrimination. Reasonable accommodation doesn''t carry through in the same way as other pieces of legislations, although it can be true for the religious accommodation. But it certainly not in the same way as it is under the ADA. So again here is a place for people to exercise their rights if they don''t have other laws to afford them that opportunity.
One thing that we see in our analysis in comparing the ADA to the ADEA and the filings is that a large number of suits that are filed jointly between the ADA and the ADEA, reasonable accommodation is a very common part of the joint filing process. That is an interesting thing that we may tease out when we write our paper on ADEA, ADA comparisons.
Alright. Do we have any questions at this time?
Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question, please press the one on your touch tone phone now.
While they are doing that, what would in terms of trainings, you know Susanne you talked about the implications for the DBTACs and also the wider audience, but in terms of trainings, what can you drew from these numbers you know trainings for employers as well as individuals with disabilities and folks that work with people with disabilities? Susanne Bruyére: I think what we suggested as areas of interest for the DBTACs themselves certainly are topical areas that I would suggest for trainings and information dissemination for disability advocacy organizations are important one and that is the state specific disability non-discrimination legislation and knowledge of the respective state employment discrimination claims offices. As well as informing advocacy groups about how federal legislations, Supreme Court decisions, or Judicial Court decisions might influence how they advise people to file. Where I think a critical area that we could all look at if you are a representative from an employer or you are in a DBTAC and informing employers, is to take a look at those top related issues. You know this is not new information, but it merits continual revisiting and informing employers is that these are places that their processes still need cleaning up. This is not new to us but it may be new to the current people who are serving as employer agents, human resource people turn over may not have had the benefit of some of the advisement and trainings that others have had previously. We need to do continuing education to the employers that when they are making decisions about discharge decisions or terms and conditions of employment, they need to think about how they may differently disparately disadvantage people with the disabilities in that process or single them out in the process. Similarly, they need to re-examine their hiring processes. Although we have certainly cleaned up in lots of applications and questions about the disabilities, we still know that inadvertently or sometimes covertly questions that flag people as having a disability do occur. So we need to continue to be mindful about that as well as equitable access. We at Cornell have done some research on web accessibility and in recruiting because we know we ask questions now that we wouldn''t have asked 10 years ago about, might people be precluded from the hiring equitable access to the hiring process just by the very nature of the move toward a more IT intensive front door to get their application process in. And we believe, yes indeed they are differentially disadvantaged in that process. We talk a bit about reasonable accommodation, I think the information we could be providing employers is to raise their awareness in the 2007 climate about where accommodation similarly might occur in IT, not just in paths and travels and elimination of stairs. But each new generation of the work place activity that each incremental additional use of information technology in the computer adds a new level of awareness that needs to occur about where people might be disadvantaged in what we take for common routine about information dissemination and access to an IT way of implementing jobs. And lastly, I take very seriously this item on harassment. One of the under-researched and under-explored areas is how work places create hostile environments for people who are different and that difference can be disability. And I think it is important for us to take a look at in our educational process, how people of difference and including people with disabilities get treated in a way that may make their work environment one that is unfriendly if not overtly hostile to them, and making it impossible for them to succeed in any number of ways. And with that I am going to pause because Andrew would like to add another comment there.
You know in terms of kind of getting down to the very specific things about of how people use statistics and a lot of the stuff will be coming out are very basic descriptive statistic. One thing that we learned and Susanne mentioned this state, state, state. The state really matters. People need its local and its specific of statistic as possible. And many times it is not going to change behavior per se, but just help people make the case that they need to, help them make the case that attention needs to be drawn to this issue. There is a slide here on disabilitystatistics.org which is a place where we put a lot of descriptive statistics on people with disabilities. One thing that we talked about earlier on in about the application of this proposal is to do a lot of statistics base on industry and firm size. But we have a lot of concerns about those variables. One thing is that the industry variable is not collected in a consistent fashion with national surveys that put out the statistics by industry. Also firm size, we talked to people at EEOC and there is a lot of and this is true in the survey literature, there is a lot of skepticism about how firm sizes is collected because is it at that specific location, is it at that department, is it at the national level, corporate international level that firm size is collected. And there is a lot of, we looked at the data and there is a lot of kind of missing values in that process as well. We were disappointed to see when we first access the code information about the data file that they didn''t have occupational information. We really thought that by having a mix of occupation industry and firm size we will be able to tell the DBTACs where the issues might be. But the data turns out to be either non-existent or to some degree suspect. I''m no throwing out the use of that data per se, but we do still need to do a lot of investigation into the coding processes that EEOC and FEPA offices, the operating procedures in terms of coding needs, variables are not always clear. You know, for me a lot of times statistics are used in a way that get people into the door, get their issues in the door per se. Because you can take statistics from EEOC Charge Data to kind of make your case. A lot of times we end up in the beginning of grant proposals or articles and things like that as just the way of stating the case. So I think that''s one way of using statistics that you will be seeing over the years come out of this project.
All right. Do we have any other questions out there?
We do have a question from the Captioner.
Hello. What can employers take from this information to improve their employment practices? Susanne Bruyére: Well, I will start and I will see if anybody would like to add to this. Please those of you out there who are doing this all the time, please feel confident that your voice weighing in on this is equally valuable as those of us as speakers. I believe I started that set of recommendations by just talking about pointing towards the top five issues that I feel we can inform employers about. I think it would be useful for the employers to know that they run the greatest risk in terms of likelihood that a charge would be filed across those top five areas and there are things that they can do to improve their policies and practices as we talked about. And look at across all of their laws because sometime employers get in trouble because they don''t look at how the ADA requirements interface with what they have more familiarity with and that might be the Family Medical Leave Act, their Workers'' Compensation, short term disability related leave, as well as their OSHA requirements that they try to respond to. So, the more they can look at their employment relationship with people as a whole and think of disability as not occurring as a discreet incident or in a discreet person but rather as a part of the human condition that will be inevitable with an aging work force. And equip their work force to respond proactively to enabling people to stay in that work force productively. The more they will minimize the likelihood of a discrimination claim and maximize the likelihood that people will feel confident to attach to that workplace to begin with, and to be able to stay in that workplace regardless of whether they are impacted by a disabling or a health related condition over time. And I am going to pause there because Andrew would like to add to that.
You know it''s a really good question and I would like to do a focus group and give this to a bunch of employers and listen in on what they say. You know, if I am an employer, especially with our analysis that compares across. What it would say to me is that, discharge is just not a matter of race and ethnicity and age. Disability is there too. This is an issue for disability and it shows. I am always concern that firms have many programs related to diversity and trainings and that disability is not included in those efforts. This really suggests that disability should be included for all of these issues because the same issues that are faced with other statutes are faced by people with disabilities. So, if I am a firm, I am going to be saying are we really doing, I know all about our diversity programs, are we really stepping up to bat with regards to people with disabilities because these are the same issues that they see with other statutes. I am not an employer and I don''t pretend to be one but that would be something that I might take from it. If you have any ideas please let us know. Susanne Bruyére: Tony, do you want to add to that?
I want to make a comment. I mean I don''t know it''s obviously only based on theory and not on data, but I just assume that you know kind of like going to an EEOC office and to a FEPA office to really kind of file a charge it''s kind of like the last step. So if this is true then I would assume that there might be people who are disgruntled before. So these numbers not only tell us about some people who finally make it to the offices but people who in some way are unhappy with the conditions. And there again, the reasonable accommodation. This high number is a very important number because it means that actually the employer assuming that they are interested to have as few disgruntled employees as possible. They might actually find a cheap way to make people less unhappy. I''m not only talking about the ones you know who really have a charge and say well I can''t do my work But I am talking about people who just you know bothered or concerned with daily circumstances. So I think what it would tell me is that there are reasons out there, related also to terms and conditions harassment which are reasons, which probably are valid not only for the ones who end up in the offices charging and file but also for the other ones. So I think there are some hidden message for employers how they can easily improve their relationship with their employees.
Excellent. Well, we are near the bottom of the hour and it is time for us to pause. I want to thank Susanne, Andrew and Tony for joining us today. I know that you were able to put this presentation together on short notice so we truly appreciate all of you joining us today. As a reminder there will be, the transcript as well as the audio archive available on the ADA home page in approximately 10 to 14 days from today''s date and you can find that at www.ada-audio.org. As a reminder, the next session will take place on May the 15th and that was the session that was originally scheduled for April. That is the session on the ADA Restoration Act: A Legislative Update. We will have Andy Imparato from the American Association of People with Disabilities. Andy is the President and CEO of AAPD, will be joining us to provide an update on the Restoration Act, another disability legislation that is out there. As always, you may contact your Regional ADA Centers by calling 1-800-949-4232 with questions on the ADA and other disability laws as well as questions on the audio conference. You can register and find information about other upcoming sessions in the audio conference series at www.ada-audio.org . I want to thank all of you for joining us today and hope that you will be able to join us down the road. Thanks and everyone have a great day.