FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2010
AARP Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-434-2560
AARP Joins Plaintiff to Strongly Support Legislation to Repair Damage from Supreme Court Age Discrimination Decision
AARP Board Member Gail Aldrich and Plaintiff Jack Gross Testify Today, Thursday in Front of House and Senate Committees
WASHINGTON - AARP Board Member Gail Aldrich, in testimony prepared for delivery today at a House of Representatives hearing, called for enactment of workforce legislation to “eliminate the second-class status for victims of age bias” that flows from a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.
The hearing is before the House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee. On Thursday, Aldrich and plaintiff Jack Gross will testify in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
In a disappointing decision in the Gross v FBL Financial Services case involving Iowa resident Jack Gross, the Supreme Court made it much more difficult for older workers to prove age discrimination. The new legislation, the “Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act” (H.R. 3721; S. 1756), would restore the burden of proof to where it was prior to the Gross decision and ensure that the standard is the same as for other employment discrimination victims, for example, those facing gender or race discrimination.
In his testimony, Gross noted that he was “disappointed and disillusioned” with the Supreme Court decision while saying that he nevertheless was honored to be speaking out on behalf of “millions of older workers, many of whom like me, have experienced age discrimination.”
Aldrich said in her statement: “Older workers need effective age discrimination laws when employers choose to displace them based on their age, due to stereotypes or other forms of bias, rather than their performance or other legitimate business reasons.”
She added: “Working longer is good for society as earners typically pay more in taxes than retirees and contribute to the productive output of the economy.”
“It is also good for workers, who have more years to save and less time in retirement to finance. And it is good for employers who retain skilled and experienced employees,” Aldrich said.
She said that the Supreme Court decision could not have come at a worse time for older workers, who she noted are experiencing a level of unemployment and job insecurity not seen since the late 1940s.
Before Aldrich became an AARP board member, she was a business executive and human resources professional.
To receive a complete copy of the testimony by Jack Gross or Gail Aldrich, please contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560. The testimony is also available online at http://www.aarp.org/aarp/presscenter/testimony/articles/aldrich_gross_senate_testimony.html.
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