The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act—And What It Means For Workers

According to a 2018 AARP study, approximately 61% of adults aged 45 or older have experienced or witnessed age discrimination in the workplace.

And thanks to some new legislation, it may become easier for those people to win their cases in court.

Age discrimination has been prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act since 1967. But in 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that workers in age discrimination claims had to prove that age was a “decisive factor” in their firing, punishment, or a company’s decision not to hire them.

That ruling put a considerable burden of proof on older workers, and made it more difficult for those facing age discrimination to get justice. It’s a higher standard than those imposed on other discrimination claims, including those involving race, sex, religion, or nation of origin.

The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) reverses that decision, restoring the rights of older workers filing age discrimination cases in court, and reducing the burden of proof.

In today’s heated political climate, this legislation is one of the rare few that has attracted bipartisan support. It was sponsored by both a Democrat and a Republican—representatives Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. It passed a key House of Representatives committee vote in June, setting it up to be brought before the House.

What does this mean for workers? If this legislation is passed, those filing age discrimination claims will only need to prove that age was one of multiple factors that prompted their firing, sanctions, or a decision not to hire them—not the decisive factor.

What to Do If You’re Facing Age Discrimination

If you believe you’ve been fired, penalized, or passed over for a job or promotion because of your age, we strongly recommend talking to an experienced employment attorney.

Your lawyer can evaluate your case, counsel you on your options, and defend your interests in court. 

If you believe you’ve been discriminated against because of your age, we can help. Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at murphy@phillyemploymentlawyer.com for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.