Kildee Applauds Passage of Legislation to Protect Michigan's Older Workers from Age-Based Discrimination

Press Release

Date: June 23, 2021
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Senior Citizens

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, would restore legal protections for older workers and hold employers accountable for age discrimination.

"We need to ensure our economy works for everyone. One critical way we can do that is by guaranteeing that all workers are treated equally, including older Michiganders," said Congressman Kildee. "Everyone should be able to live and work free from discrimination. We must strengthen workplace protections for older Americans against age-based discrimination, so that they have the same professional opportunities available to them."

Unfortunately, a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision increased the burden of proof of discrimination based on age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), weakening protections for older workers. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act would clarify the standards of proof needed under the ADEA, restoring legal protections for older workers by making it easier for them to seek relief from age discrimination. This bill would align the burden of proof for age discrimination with the same standards currently in law for proving discrimination based on race and national origin.

A 2018 AARP survey found that three in five workers age 45 and older had seen, or experienced, age discrimination in the workplace. Age discrimination keeps many older Americans from finding work, switching jobs or being promoted within their company. Not only is this bad for workers and their families, but also it is bad for the economy. A 2020 study estimated that age discrimination against older workers cost the U.S. economy $850 billion in 2018.

The passage of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act today is the latest action taken by Congressman Kildee to support workers and families in Congress. In the last few months, the House has passed:
H.R. 5, the Equality Act, to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, education, federal funding, employment, housing and access to credit.
H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, to ensure that women and men are paid the same wages for doing the same work.
H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, to protect workers' right to organize, negotiate wages and fight for fair working conditions.