Earlier this summer the House Judiciary Committee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held hearings on H.R. 3721, a/k/a the “Protecting Older Workers From Discrimination Act” (POWADA), which was introduced in the wake of the Supreme Court’s controversial 5-4 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. In the decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court held that under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a plaintiff pursuing a disparate treatment claim for age discrimination must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the employee would not have suffered an adverse employment action “but for” his age. The Court held that the text of the ADEA did not authorize “mixed motives” claims, and that the burden of persuasion does not shift to the employer, even when there is evidence that the plaintiff’s age was a motivating factor in the adverse decision.
Committees in both the House and the Senate heard testimony this week regarding the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (H.R. 3721 and S. 1756). Democrats introduced the Act last fall with hopes of restoring employees’ rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) by overturning the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs. Inc., 557 U.S. __ (2009).
Continue Reading Proposed Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act May Alter Other Discrimination And Retaliation Statutes