In June 2009, the Supreme Court issued a ruling making it tougher for employees to win age-bias lawsuits. Now legislation to negate that ruling has been reintroduced in the Senate.
The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (S.2189) would repudiate the high court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, which held that employees claiming they’d been victims of an adverse employment action on account of their age had to prove that the fact they were over 40 was the sole cause of the adverse action.
The ruling angered members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. They pointed out that other anti-discrimination laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act allowed claimants to win cases merely by showing that bias was a contributing factor in the adverse action.
POWADA, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D, VT), Chuck Grassley (R, IA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), would specify that the burden of proof in age bias cases be identical to that of other anti-discrimination statutes.
Similar versions of the bill were introduced in 2009, and hearings were held in 2010, but the legislation never advanced.
We’ll keep you posted.