Legislation to Improve Senior Economic Security and End Age Discrimination in the Workplace Introduced
April 06, 2023
The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) would level the playing field for older workers and restore safeguards against age-based discrimination. POWADA would restore critical protections in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and make it easier for employees to prove when they are a victim of age discrimination in the workplace. Older workers are currently required to meet a significantly higher burden of proof when alleging age discrimination than is required of workers alleging other forms of workplace discrimination.
“Older Americans are important members of our communities, and they deserve to age knowing their rights are supported in the workplace,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “This bipartisan effort will ensure that older Americans have critically needed protections to ensure they aren’t victims of age discrimination. Too many older Alaskans have faced uncertainty and wrongful discrimination due to their age—so I’m proud to be part of this effort that supports those who do so much for our workplaces and communities.”
“As more Americans are remaining in the workforce longer, we must recognize and address the challenges that aging workers face. We must make it clear to employers that age discrimination is unacceptable, and we must strengthen antidiscrimination protections that are being eroded,” Senator Casey said. “POWADA would level the playing field for older workers and ensure they are able to fight back against age discrimination in the workplace.”
The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act is co-led by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IL). In addition to Senator Murkowski, the bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
What would POWADA do?
POWADA would amend the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the retaliation provision in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to level the playing field for older workers.
The bill would restore the pre-Gross standard, recognizing once again the legitimacy of so-called “mixed-motive” claims in which discrimination is a, if not the deciding, factor. It would also reaffirm that workers may use any type of admissible evidence to prove their claims.