Mediating Disability Employment Discrimination Claims - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 52, No. 1
The author is special counsel to the commissioner/chairperson of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. He is the former general counsel for the New York City Community Development Agency and a former prosecutor with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. This article is solely the work of the author in his private capacity and should not be construed to represent the official views of the City of New York.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
“The inability of already-overburdened courts to deal with the continuing increase in the filing of disability discrimination claims is a situation which must be addressed immediately,” says Matthew Daus. One means of relieving the pressure of such an overwhelming caseload is greater reliance on alternative dispute resolution, and particularly mediation, he says. Mediation provides an informal environment in which the employer and employee can put their differences on the table and work toward a mutually acceptable solution.
The enactment of the 1991 Civil Rights Amendments to Title VII1 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),2 expanded the scope of the United States’ civil rights laws. As a result, there will continue to be an influx of discrimination claims for years to come. Though Congress’ passage of the ADA is a great accomplishment, its impact upon the judicial system, administrative agencies and employers is already tremendous. The inability of already-overburdened courts to deal with the continuing increase in the filing of disability discrimination claims is a situation which must be addressed immediately.
Since its enactment, ADA claims have resulted in a crippling caseload at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). From 1992 through 1993, ADA claims caused a 22% increase in employment discrimination charges filed with the EEOC.3 A total of 20,210 ADA claims were filed with the EEOC during 1993, constituting approximately 25% of all charges filed.4 The influx of ADA claims contributed to a 30.6% increase in the EEOC backlog from June 1993 through June 1994.5 Currently, the EEOC reports the filing of more than 54,690 ADA claims,6 accounting for a 25% annual increase in its workload and a backlog of approximately 24,800 ADA complaints.7