H.R. 2062 Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act
Before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc., older workers alleging age discrimination in the workplace had to prove that age was simply one of the motivating factors behind the discrimination. This is the same burden of proof faced by those alleging discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin or religion.
However, in 2009, the Court upended decades of legal precedent by imposing a much higher burden of proof for older workers, requiring them to prove that age was the decisive and determinative cause of the discrimination. This bill would restore the standard for older workers back to the pre-2009 level – the same burden of proof required of all other workers alleging employment discrimination – and make it easier for older workers discriminated against to seek recourse in court.
Stronger protections against age discrimination will not only protect older workers, but they will also grow the workforce and strengthen the economy. A 2018 AARP survey found that three in five workers age 45 and older had seen or experienced discrimination in the workplace. Moreover, a study produced by AARP and Economist Intelligence Unit found that the United States missed out on a potential $850 billion in GDP in 2018 because older workers were denied opportunities to remain in or re-enter the labor force, switch jobs or be promoted within their organization.