Grassley, Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Older Workers From Discrimination

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa joined Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Susan Collins of Maine in re-introducing the bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). Enacting POWADA (S. 485) 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 involving Iowan Jack Gross, 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 Americans contribute greatly to our society and economy. They deserve the same protections as every other American,”Grassley said. “The Supreme Court case involving Iowan Jack Gross affected employment discrimination litigation across the country. It’s long past time we clarify the intent of Congress to make sure people like Jack Gross don’t face discrimination due to age.”

“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.”