Press Releases

Wexton Votes to Restore Protections for Older Workers

Washington, January 15, 2020

Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted in favor of the bipartisan Protect Older Workers Against Discrimination Act to rectify the changes established by a 2009 Supreme Court case that imposed higher burden of proof standards for claims of age discrimination in the workplace.

In the 2009 case Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc., the Supreme Court imposed new and significant legal barriers for older Americans who alleged age discrimination in the workplace. This heightened burden of proof requires that the older worker alleging discrimination  prove that age is the decisive and determining factor for the action taken against them by the employer. However, prior to 2009, older workers only had to demonstrate that age was a motivating factor in the employer’s action, as is the case for instances of discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and religion. 

“For ten years, older Americans have faced an unfair and undue burden of proof in cases of age discrimination at work,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “Age discrimination is a serious and growing issue that impacts the lives and financial security of older Virginians. With this legislation, we are restoring vital protections for older workers. No one in this country should face discrimination at work based on their race, gender, religion -- or how old they are.”

The Protect Older Workers Against Discrimination Act reverts back to the pre-2009 burden of proof requirements, restoring crucial workplace protections for older workers. 

Age discrimination in the workplace is a serious and growing problem. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), more than half of older workers are forced out of their job before they intend to retire, and of those who are able to find work again, 9 in 10 do not match their previous earnings.

The bill is supported by AARP.

The full text of the bill may be found here.

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