A bipartisan — yes, bipartisan — Senate bill would make it easier for employees to prove age bias

Bipartisan, eh?

(Sorry, it’s the first thing I thought of)

Welcome back, Kotter Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act

Always a bridesmaid, but never a bride, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act has been considered in both houses of Congress a few times, but never made its way all the way into law. If passed this time around, the Act would gut the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., and amend the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to specify that age discrimination occurs when one’s age is a motivating factor in an employment decision (i.e., one of many) as opposed to the motivating factor (also known as the “but for” test).

It’s kinda wonky and, in reality, most juries don’t appreciate the subtle distinction.

Still, it’s got some Senators all fired up, like Robert Casey (D-PA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Susan Collins (R-ME), who have co-sponsored the current iteration of the bill. If press releases are your thing, here’s one from Senator Grassley.

In the meantime, to avoid age discrimination claims, I suggest wiping these words from your vernacular when used to describe your employees:

  • old fart
  • old school
  • old man
  • pops
  • outdated
  • old fashioned
  • antiquated
  • retirement,and, in case you were wondering …
  • old mother******

And, when you terminate an older employee, consult this primer on age discrimination releases.


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