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Bonamici Bill to Protect Workers from Age Discrimination Passes House

June 23, 2021
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC [6/23/21] – Today the House passed bipartisan legislation co-led by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Chair of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, to strengthen protections against age discrimination in the workplace.


The Protecting Workers Against Age Discrimination Act (POWADA) restores anti-discrimination protections under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act that were weakened by the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. Under Gross, workers must prove that age discrimination was the sole motivating factor for the employer’s adverse action, making it much harder for workers to make their case.


Video of Bonamici speaking in support of the legislation can be found here. She noted that her office has heard from many workers who believe they have been dismissed or denied employment because of their age, particularly in the technology sector.


“Americans are living and working longer, and we must make sure they are protected from age discrimination,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Unfortunately, age discrimination in the workplace remains disturbingly pervasive, and older workers in Oregon and across the country face unreasonable obstacles in holding employers accountable. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act is a commonsense, bipartisan bill to restore the legal rights of older workers and send a clear message that discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable.”


A fact sheet about POWADA can be found here, and a summary of the legislation can be found here.


Bonamici chaired a hearing that examined POWADA and other legislation to confront workforce discrimination in March.