Protect Older Job Applicants Act of 2021

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 3, 2021
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KELLER. Mr. Speaker, we heard about the justification for this legislation, and we are discussing older job applicants. Just some context that I would like to add about how well older job applicants and workers have been faring in recent decades.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for workers age 65 and older, employment tripled from 1988 to 2018, while employment among younger workers only grew by about one-third.

Among people age 75 and older, the number of employed people nearly quadrupled, increasing from 461,000 in 1998 to 1.8 million in 2018.

The labor force participation rate for older workers has been steadily increasing since the late 1990s, while participation rates for younger age groups either declined or flattened during the same period.

Over the past 20 years, the number of older workers on full-time work schedules grew 2\1/2\ times faster than the number working part time.

Full-time employees are now a majority of older workers. They were 61 percent in 2018, up from 46 percent in 1998.

These statistics paint a picture of rising full-time employment among older workers, and they do not portray rampant discrimination against older job applicants.

As the economy recovers from the pandemic, older workers will continue to prosper.

H.R. 3992 is yet another Democrat bill in search of a problem. It will result in an avalanche of class action litigation against employers for using standard, reasonable recruiting methods, and I encourage a ``no'' vote on the bill.

Mr. KELLER. Mr. Speaker, before considering any legislation, the House should first make a determination about whether the proposal is actually needed and then should always carefully study the pending legislation to determine whether it will adequately and positively address the issue it purports to address. Unfortunately, Democrats have failed on both counts with H.R. 3992.

The bill was introduced only 8 legislative days before the Committee on Education and Labor markup, and the committee did not hold a hearing on the legislation.

As such, we are flying blind as we consider H.R. 3992 today.

H.R. 3992 authorizes disparate impact claims for job applicants under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and it has wide-ranging and damaging implications that need thorough examination.

Significantly, we have had no data on whether excluding job applicants from disparate impact coverage under the ADEA has a significant negative impact on older job applicants. Indeed, to date, there have been zero circuit court decisions ruling that the ADEA authorizes job applicants to sue under a disparate impact theory.

Further, we have no information about the numerous effects this sweeping bill would have on job seekers and businessowners. As we have heard during this debate, H.R. 3992 could needlessly interfere with routine recruitment practices, such as college recruiting, apprenticeship programs, and online job postings.

Given the appalling lack of data on the issue and the rush by Democrats to pass the bill, this amendment simply requires the GAO to conduct a needed study on whether excluding job applicants from disparate impact coverage under the ADEA has a significant negative impact on older job applicants. If the study finds no such negative impact, the bill would not go into effect.

This House should not legislate in the dark. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we are doing here today.

This amendment will shed some much-needed light on a far-reaching bill that has not received proper examination.


Mr. KELLER. Madam Speaker, I heard my colleague from Texas say that they have had a hearing on the subject. Well, our contention is not the subject, but the bill. There have been zero hearings on this bill, which was introduced 8 legislative days ago.

So I don't know why there is a rush to judgment on whether we should vote on this or not without making sure we understand all the issues. And since the Democrats are unwilling to do that, this amendment makes perfect sense, if you don't want to examine it and do that beforehand and do the proper work up front. Let's make sure before this takes effect and could harm older Americans or job creators, we should understand the impacts and what it means.

So you can sit here and correct the Record all you want. What you think you are doing when you talk about the subject, we are talking about the legislation. And we need to know exactly what this legislation is going to do and how it is going to impact older Americans and our job creators.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. KELLER. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.