Should Congress lower the burden of proof in age-related employment discrimination cases?

This bill has Passed the House of Representatives
Bill Summary

This bill lowers the burden of proof that complainants must meet in age-related employment discrimination cases. Under the potential legislation, workers would only have to prove that age-discriminations was a component of the employer’s motivation, not the sole motivation. In addition, the bill affirms that complainants can use any admissible evidence to prove their case. Sponsor: Rep. Robert C. Scott (Democrat, Virginia, District 3) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

•     "Under current law, plaintiffs in these cases generally must show that an employer would not have taken an employment action ‘but for’ a protected characteristic. [H.R. 2062] would allow plaintiffs to prevail and obtain limited forms of relief if the protected characteristic was a ‘motivating factor’ in the employment action, even if the employer can demonstrate they would have taken the action, for example, because of poor performance, regardless of age."

Source: President Donald Trump (45th President of the United States)


•     "We are here debating yet another one-size-fits-all ‘government knows best’ mandate that rewards special interests and disregards real-world experience and decades of Supreme Court 

Precedent … The committee also has no evidence or data indicating this bill is necessary… there is no data indicating workers have been discouraged from filing age discrimination charges with the EEOC or bringing cases."

Source: Rep. Virginia Foxx (Republican, North Carolina, District 5)

Proponents say

     "Everyone—regardless of their age—should be able to go to work every day knowing that they are protected from discrimination. Unfortunately, age discrimination in the workplace is depriving older workers of opportunities and exposing them to long-term unemployment and severe financial hardship. More than a decade ago, the Supreme Court undermined protections for older workers by setting an unreasonable burden of proof for age discrimination claims. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act is a bipartisan bill that would finally restore the legal rights of older workers by ensuring that the burdens of proof in age discrimination claims are treated in the same manner as other discrimination claims."

Source: Rep. Robert C. Scott (Democrat, Virginia, District 3) 


•     "According to a 2018 AARP survey, 61 percent of older workers said they had either faced or seen age bias in the workplace. As older workers become a larger share of the nation's workforce — 41 million workers will be age 55 or older in 2024, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections — issues of age discrimination in employment could also become more prevalent, experts say… [a] 2009 Supreme Court ruling has forced older workers to prove that their age was a ‘decisive factor’ in an employer's decision to discipline or fire them, a much higher standard than had been required for decades."

Source: AARP