Scott Urges Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Older Workers Against Discrimination
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 2062, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of H.R. 2062, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, which I reintroduced this year with our colleague from Illinois—Mr. Rodney Davis.
“For decades, the federal government has recognized the need to protect older workers against discrimination on the basis of age.
“Unfortunately, in 2009, the Supreme Court severely eroded protections for older workers in the case of Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. In its decision, the Court set a significantly higher burden of proof for workers alleging age discrimination.
“Under this standard, workers must prove that age discrimination was the decisive cause of an employer’s action, rather than just one of the motivating factors, as was the case before the Gross decision.
“Making cases more difficult to prove contradicts our responsibility to support older workers who have long been vulnerable to workplace discrimination. In fact, more than half of older workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire.
“Age discrimination also holds back our economy. Research by AARP and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that, absent age discrimination, older workers would have contributed $850 billion more in 2018 to the Gross Domestic Product.
“Clearly, our labor market and economy cannot fully recover from the pandemic if we fail to support our older workers.
“The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act is a bipartisan initiative that would restore the pre-2009 evidentiary standard for age discrimination claims. It would effectively realign the burden of proof for age discrimination claims so it would, again, be the same standards for proving discrimination based on sex, race, religion, and national origin.
“The legislation also reinstates this standard for disability discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as claims for retaliation for rights protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These statutes have all been implicated by the Gross decision.
“Last Congress, 34 House Republicans joined 227 House Democrats in favor of passing the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. This Congress, I hope we can come together again and take this step to ensure that older workers can achieve justice.
“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to enter a Statement of Administration Policy into the record in support of H.R. 2062. I reserve the balance of my time.”