The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act ("POWADA") would reverse the 2009 Supreme Court decision which made it harder to win a claim of age discrimination.
The Bill - introduced today - has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.
Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin and Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia, sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives. Senators Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, sponsored it in the Senate.
What is the issue?
The 2009 Supreme Court decision held (by a majority decision of 5 votes against 4) that the burden of proof in an age discrimination claim is on the claimant. Employees must show that age was the reason for the dismissal or discriminatory treatment.
This is straightforward where discrimination is overt, but much harder in cases where it is less obvious, for example stating in a job advert that an employer has a “fun, party atmosphere”.
Co-sponsor of the Bill Bob Casey said that the decision sent a message that “some age discrimination is perfectly fine”.