Luria Joins Effort to Protect Older Workers from Discrimination
WASHINGTON — Americans are working more and longer than ever, yet age discrimination worries often give older workers a lack of confidence in being able to keep their jobs or find new ones.
That’s why the House threw its bipartisan support behind H.R. 1230, the Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Act, which aims to restore workplace protections for older workers by overturning precedent related to determining cause.
Sponsored by Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott, D-Va., the legislation is now being reviewed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee.
The bill reinstates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to establish an unlawful employment practice when the complaining party demonstrates age was a motivating factor, even if only in part and other considerations may have factored in.
The legislation is a response to the 2009 Supreme Court ruling in Gross v. FLB Financial Services, Inc. that required complainants to prove that age discrimination was the sole motivating factor for the employer’s adverse action.
The result of the verdict in Gross allowed age discrimination to have a higher burden of proof than discrimination based on other characteristics. The Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Act mandates the return of legal standards to the pre-2009 evidentiary threshold and allows victims of discrimination to report a ‘mixed-motive’ claim to reduce wrongdoing.
A mixed-motive claim means that now complainants must prove that age was a factor, if not the deciding factor in an employment decision. This levels the playing field for older workers and reaffirms that workers may use any type of admissible evidence to prove their claims.
“It is unacceptable that older Americans are routinely discriminated against in the workplace simply because of their age,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Virginia, a supporter of the bill.
“Ageism has no place in today’s society and Congress must stand strongly against it in order to ensure that we have the most competitive workforce in the world – which includes our seniors.”
Enforcement statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show complaints of age discrimination are on the rise. In 2017, they comprised nearly a quarter of all discrimination charges filed. In a 2018 study, AARP found that 3 in 5 workers over the age of 45 have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workforce.
The Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Act acknowledges this, and applies the same standard of proof to other employment discrimination and retaliation claims, effectively amending four laws, the aforementioned ADEA, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that all victims of discrimination can have claims adjudicated fairly.
The Protecting Older Workers from Discriminations Act is endorsed by AARP, American Association of People with Disabilities, Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers Association, National Partnership for Women and Families, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
In The News
Ørsted, the Danish renewable energy group, and the North America's Building Trades Unions have entered into a pact to train an offshore wind construction workforce as the firm eyes construction of a series of wind farm projects up and down the East Coast. The deal comes... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Federal agency executives and senators at a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday showed strong support for continuing telework among government employees even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. They said telework is bringing down their costs and improving the quality of job applicants without reducing productivity.... Read More
Of all the classes of workers who have come to be highlighted as “essential” during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, one group that is often, unfairly overlooked are those who keep the infrastructure of high rise offices and residential buildings functioning -- elevator mechanics. Throughout the pandemic’s... Read More
Behind President-elect Joe Biden's plans to drive the U.S. back to full employment after the coronavirus slump lies a long-lost idea: The unemployed need jobs, not skills. That "run it hot" recipe for recovery is back in favor among policymakers — including, crucially, at the Federal Reserve. The argument is that... Read More
A new report from the U.S Census Bureau details the employment patterns of the 3 million post 9/11 veterans in the country from 2014 to 2018. The report shows that this growing veteran population is earning more and working longer hours than those who have never... Read More
WASHINGTON - Employers added 638,000 jobs in the month of October, pushing the national unemployment rate down to 6.9%, the Labor Department reported Friday. But Congressional Democrats noted the pace of renewed hiring isn't nearly enough to quickly get the millions of Americans thrown out of... Read More