Older Americans are on the verge of eliminating age discrimination in hiring and in the work place. Earlier this week, a House of Representatives committee approved a bill that that gives senior citizens the same rights in the workplace as younger Americans.
Older Americans: What The House Bill Says
The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) would reverse a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision. That decision made it difficult for seniors who face discrimination because of their age to fight back in court.
The Education and Labor committee voted 27 to 18 earlier this week to approve this bipartisan measure. An identical bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and passage is expected soon.
This legislation makes Congress’ intent clear that discrimination in the workplace — against older workers, is not acceptable.
This legislation is necessary because the Supreme Court previously ruled that senior citizens must prove that their age was a “decisive factor” in the employer’s decision to discipline or fire them. This is a much higher standard than had been required for decades. Until the high court ruling, workers could prove age discrimination was the reason — they got fired. POWADA would amend the ADEA law and restore that standard.
Right now, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) basically protects workers age 40 to 60 from being forced out of jobs or denied work because of their age.
A 2018 study by AARP found that 61 percent of adults age 45-plus had experienced or seen age discrimination in the workplace. Moreover, 44 percent of older job seekers, applying for a job, were asked for their date of birth or the year they graduated from school.
The POWADA bill is expected to be reconciled and passed in the very near future. Older Americans will then be protected in the workplace in the same way as their younger colleagues.