Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, joined Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in introducing the bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). Enacting POWADA would restore critical Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protections and make it easier for employees to prove when they are a victim of age discrimination in the workplace.
In 2009, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Gross v. FBL Financial Services weakened the ADEA by imposing a significantly higher burden of proof on workers alleging age discrimination than is required of workers alleging other forms of workplace discrimination. As a result, workers that allege age discrimination must meet an undue legal burden not faced by workers alleging discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, or religion.
“Older employees bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the workplace. Individuals who are willing and able to remain in the workforce longer can also improve their retirement security for their golden years. We should do all we can to ensure that these employees are not faced with age-related bias while doing their jobs,” said Senator Collins. “As the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, I have worked to develop policies that end workplace discrimination and ensure that seniors are able to participate fully in the workplace.”
“We commend these lawmakers for sponsoring this crucial legislation,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “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.”
In 2017, the Senate Aging Committee released a report titled, “America’s Aging Workforce: Opportunities and Challenges,” which highlighted the historic number of Americans who are working past the age of 55 and the need for legislation to protect such workers from age discrimination.
Click HERE to read a one-pager on POWADA.