Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Shoenfelt (Director), Dr. Amber Schroeder, Dr. Reagan Brown

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Selecting employees for hire and promotion is one of the most essential functions of an organization. Many companies that have positions which contain a physical component rely on physical ability testing as part of their selection procedure. The establishment of both the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) had a profound impact on the manner in which selection testing may legally be conducted (Gutman, Koppes, & Vodanovich, 2011). The current study sought to analyze court cases involving physical ability testing. Results revealed that pure ability tests did not significantly differ from work sample tests with regard to whether court cases found for the plaintiff or defendant. Additionally, rulings did not significantly differ in ruling in favor of the plaintiff or defendant with regard to whether the position in question involved public safety. Finally, the ADA related cases did not significantly differ in their rulings in favor of the plaintiff or defendant after the 2011 modifications to the interpretation of disabled, as compared to before 2011. Future research should focus on the difference between court rulings involving physical ability tests in comparison to other forms of testing such as cognitive tests, and further investigate the role of the ADA in physical ability testing.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Disability Law | Human Resources Management | Psychology