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VIDEO: Pingree Amendment to Address Age Discrimination Against Women Passes in House Bill to Protect Older Workers

Washington, January 15, 2020

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today voted to pass H.R. 1230, the bipartisan Protect Older Workers Against Age Discrimination Act. The bill levels the playing field for older workers and restores their rights to fight back against age discrimination. Pingree’s bipartisan amendment with Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) to address disproportionate age discrimination against women was included in the final bill when it was passed 261-155.

Pingree’s amendment acknowledges that older women are disproportionately affected by age discrimination and asks the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to seek data and issue a formal report on the intersection between age and gender discrimination. The report will outline recommendations to prevent and combat gender and age discrimination as it relates to women in the workplace.  

“Women are deeply, materially harmed by inequities in our economy. On average, they take home lower salaries, are able to save less for retirement, and receive less in Social Security benefits,” said Pingree. “Addressing this intersection [between age and gender discrimination] is about economic security – making sure that older women have the chance work in fair environments for equitable pay.”

According to AARP, more than 6 in 10 older workers report seeing or experiencing age discrimination on the job. More than half of older workers are forced out of a job before they intend to retire, and even if they find work again, 9 in 10 never match their prior earnings. In 2017, EEOC received over 20,000 complaints of age discrimination, up from 16,000 in 2000.

Watch Pingree’s floor speech here.

“AARP applauds Representative Pingree for her work to pass bipartisan legislation to help fight age discrimination in the workplace. 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. Pingree for cosponsoring and helping to pass this common-sense, bipartisan bill," said AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham. 

Prior to 2009, older workers alleging age discrimination in the workplace faced the same standard as those who allege discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, or religion. This changed dramatically in 2009 when the Supreme Court imposed a much higher burden of proof on workers alleging age discrimination. The worker must now prove that age was the decisive and determinative cause for the employer’s adverse action rather than just a motivating factor in the employer’s action. 

H.R. 1230 returns to the pre-2009 “mixed motive” standard for workers alleging age discrimination, which is used for alleged discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and religion.

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