Brindisi hails proposal to protect older workers from discrimination

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NEW YORK — Rep. Anthony J. Brindisi, D-22, Utica, is hailing the protection of older Americans from age discrimination with the passage of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.

The bipartisan legislation lowers the burden of proof for age discrimination cases. Currently, older Americans face a tougher burden of proof for age discrimination than other employment discrimination cases, Brindisi said in an announcement.

“Across the country, we are seeing older Americans face discrimination for their age,” Brindisi said. “That is unacceptable. Older Americans continue to provide experience, expertise, and a work ethic that makes them a critical part of our workforce. Reducing the burden of proof for age discrimination cases will help protect older Americans from discrimination and allow them to continue to make meaningful contributions to our society.”

Under current law, workers hoping to prove age discrimination must show that age was the sole cause for termination. For other types of workplace discrimination, a party only needs to prove that age was one of the motivating factors. This legislation protects older Americans by leveling the playing field for discrimination claims. The legislation was praised by local older Americans and advocacy groups.

“Older Americans understand the true meaning of hard work,” said Yvonne McClusky, executive director of North Utica Senior Citizens Community. “There are plenty of seniors in our district who are reliable, dependable, and can do the work just as well as anyone. There are also a number of seniors who need to continue to make a living to pay their bills for their loved ones. Employers should value quality work no matter what age. I thank Congressman Brindisi for supporting this legislation.”

“AARP applauds Rep. Brindisi for his work to pass bipartisan legislation to help fight age discrimination in the workplace,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “Older workers are a valuable asset to their employers and the economy, yet more than 6 in 10 report seeing or experiencing age discrimination on the job. We thank Rep. Brindisi for cosponsoring and helping to pass this common-sense, bipartisan bill.”

According to census data, New York’s 22nd congressional district is slightly older than New York State average. Many older Americans are facing discrimination in the workplace. According to AARP, 6 in 10 older workers have experienced or seen age discrimination in the workplace.

This legislation is supported by advocacy organizations, including AARP, Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, American Civil Liberties Union, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, National Council on Aging, American Association of People with Disabilities, Justice in Aging, AAUW, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, National Disability Institute, National Education Association, AFSCME, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

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