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AARP Endorses Bill Aimed at Protecting Older Workers

En español | More than half of older workers say they’ve been forced out of a job before they intended to retire, and nearly a quarter say they’ve been passed over for a promotion or career advancement opportunities because of their age, according to research by AARP and others.

AARP wants that to change, which is why we wrote to lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives this month endorsing the bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) of 2023.

“This bill helps level the playing field for older workers and restores their ability to fight back against age discrimination in the workplace,” wrote Bill Sweeney, AARP senior vice president for government affairs.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) and Glenn Grothman (R-Wisconsin), would restore protections for older workers that were lost after a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that made it more difficult to prove claims of illegal bias under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Since the ruling, older workers must prove that age was the deciding factor in the employment decision, rather than just one of the factors. This is a higher burden of proof than needed for other types of job discrimination claims, placing older adults at greater risk of being discriminated against, we noted in the letter.

A 2023 AARP survey underscores the breadth of the problem: More than 6 in 10 workers age 40 and older have seen or experienced age discrimination on the job.

“These actions not only hurt the workers in question, but also hurt the profitability and competitiveness of American companies who miss out on the many benefits of strong, intergenerational workplaces,” Sweeney added.

Our support of the House bill follows our endorsement in April of a similar bill introduced in the Senate and is AARP’s latest effort in a decades-long fight against age discrimination in the workplace.

For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is cracking down on technology that can be used to weed out older job applicants, and Colorado employers will soon be barred from asking questions that could reveal someone’s age on a job application, thanks in part to our advocacy.

Read our endorsement letter, and learn more about how we’re working to combat age discrimination in the workplace.

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