Bonamici Joins Bipartisan Group of House Members to Introduce Bill Protecting Older Workers from Age Discrimination
WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03), chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) introduced the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), a proposal to strengthen anti-discrimination protections for older workers. They were joined by Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Mark Takano (CA-41), Will Hurd (TX-23), John Katko (NY-24), and Glenn Grothman (WI-06). The bipartisan legislation is a companion to a Senate bill of the same name introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
In 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. weakened protections against age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Under Gross, plaintiffs seeking to prove age discrimination in employment are required to demonstrate that age was the sole motivating factor for the employer’s adverse action. POWADA returns legal standards to the pre-2009 evidentiary threshold to ensure all claims of discrimination are adjudicated fairly.
“Discrimination shuts too many people out of good paying jobs. All Americans – regardless of their age – should be able to go to work every day knowing that they are protected from discrimination. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act would ensure there are no additional barriers for older Americans when making a discrimination claim compared to any other protected class. This legislation is a step toward restoring the rights of older workers,” said Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Committee on Education and Labor.
“Older Americans should be valued because of their experiences, not viewed as a liability due to their age. This bipartisan legislation will restore fairness in the workplace for our more seasoned workers, providing them the peace of mind that they will not be unfairly fired from their job because of age discrimination. I’m proud to reintroduce this bill with my friend, Congressman Bobby Scott, and am grateful for his continued leadership on this effort,” said Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05).
“Americans are living and working longer, and we must do all we can to make sure they are protected from age discrimination. Oregon’s population is one of the most rapidly aging in the country, and I have heard from workers who believe they have been dismissed or denied employment because of their age. We cannot allow employers to violate the civil rights of older workers who are striving to provide for themselves and their families. The bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act is an important step to protect older workers from discrimination in the workplace,” said Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services.
“Discrimination based on age, race or gender has no place in today’s workplace. I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this bipartisan bill that ensures equitable standards for fighting unlawful employment practices based on discrimination, so all of our nation’s workers can continue to support their families and help our businesses and economy thrive,” said Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23), a strong voice for South and West Texas seniors in Congress.
“Congress must stand strongly against all forms of discrimination, including against older Americans. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) will ensure that older workers will be fairly treated in the job market, returning the legal standard for proving discrimination back to its original intent. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that the law once again makes clear that there is no place for disparate treatment based on age in the workforce,” said Chairwoman Alma Adams (NC-12), Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
“Older Americans are entitled to the right to work and should not be subjected to discrimination during the hiring process. This legislation strengthens protections against the discrimination of older workers in the hiring process, giving them the safeguards, they deserve. I will continue to advocate for the rights of American workers and am proud to support this initiative this Congress,” said Congressman John Katko (NY-24).
“We commend these lawmakers for sponsoring this crucial legislation. Too many older workers have been victims of unfair age discrimination and are denied a fair shake in our justice system. The time for Congress to act is now,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer.
The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act amends four laws—the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. It was previously introduced during the 115th Congress.
For the full text of H.R.1230, the Protecting Older Workers against Discrimination Act, click here.
For a fact sheet on the Protecting Older Workers against Discrimination Act, click here.