House Passes Older Worker Protections Bill
By PVA National Staff
On January 15, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 261 to 155 the bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), H.R. 1230. Ten years ago, the Supreme Court erected a new and substantial legal barrier in the path of equal opportunity for older workers. In Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. (2009), the Court imposed a much higher burden of proof on workers who allege age discrimination than is required of those who allege discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, or religion. Proving that discrimination tainted the employer’s conduct was no longer enough; after Gross, older workers must prove that discrimination played a decisive role in the employer’s action. POWADA is important to our members as people with disabilities because it will restore well-established legal standards on workplace discrimination that were upended by the Supreme Court’s decision. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, S. 485. Its ultimate chances of success are unclear, however, because the White House has issued a statement that the President would veto the bill, if adopted.