Engel Votes to Protect Older Americans Against Age Discrimination

Engel Votes to Protect Older Americans Against Age Discrimination

New York, NY – June 16, 2019: US Congressman Eliot Engel in conversation with Yaakov Katz during Jerusalem Post conference at Marriott Marquis Times Square (Shutterstock)

Congressman Eliot Engel joined 260 of his House colleagues this week in voting to pass H.R. 1230, the Protecting Older Americans Against Age Discrimination Act, bipartisan legislation that would level the playing field for older workers and restore their rights to fight back against age discrimination in the workplace. 

Age discrimination is a serious problem for many older Americans. A 2013 AARP study found that more than 6 in 10 workers ages 45 to 74 said they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. In that same study, nearly 20 percent of respondents said they were not hired for a job because of their age and nearly 10 percent said they were laid off or fired due to their age. In 2009, the Supreme Court made claiming age discrimination in the workplace much more difficult by imposing a much higher burden of proof for workers, requiring that they prove that age was the decisive and determinative cause for the employer’s adverse action rather than just a motivating factor in the employer’s action.

The Protecting Older Americans Against Age Discrimination Act would return the burden of proof for workers alleging age discrimination back to the pre-2009 level, which would bring it back to the same standard used for alleged discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and religion. 

“The Supreme Court erred 11 years ago when it unnecessarily raised the burden of proof for American workers who claim age discrimination. Our bill fixes that,” Engel said. “Age discrimination is real and often gets overlooked when discussing workplace malpractice. This legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, brings back equity and fairness for older workers who’ve been wrongfully terminated due to their age and I hope the Senate will adopt it quickly.”

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