O’Halleran Votes to Protect Older Workers from Discrimination

January 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran joined a bipartisan group in voting to pass H.R. 1230, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, legislation that ensures older Americans have the legal tools necessary to fight back against age-based discrimination in the workplace.

This bill rejects the 2009 Gross v. FBL Financial Services Supreme Court decision that established a higher burden of proof on workers alleging age discrimination, requiring those seeking legal recourse to prove that age was both the decisive and determinative cause for an employer’s injurious actions against them, rather than just a motivating cause, as is the case in terms of discrimination on basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion.

“Roughly 35 percent of Americans are now 50 years or older and—according to AARP—6 in 10 older adults see or experience age discrimination at work,” said Rep. O’Halleran.  “Older Americans are a valuable bloc of our workforce and should not face discrimination at the office or when seeking new employment.”

H.R. 1230 amends the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the anti-discrimination provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act to ensure that older Americans face the same “mixed motive” burden of proof used in other discrimination cases and afforded to seniors before the 2009 Grossdecision.

“As a 70-year-old freshman member of Congress, I was lucky enough to join a workplace that welcomed me with open arms and provided the necessary information I needed to establish my offices and begin serving Arizona families. This is not the case for most older Americans staring a new career,” continued O’Halleran. “Today, I was proud to vote with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this important bill that places the full force of the law behind American seniors fighting for their rights in the workplace.” 

The legislation enjoys support from AARP, the National Council on Aging, the American Association of People with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and many other organizations advocating for seniors in the workplace.

The bill passed on a 261 to 155 vote.