In October three Democratic congressional committee chairmen introduced legislation aimed at doing just that. The bill, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, would make the burden of proof the same as for workers who claim discrimination based on race or gender.
“I am just one person in this fight, but I know that what happens here will affect many more people than just me,” Gross testified at a hearing on the new legislation. “That is what this is about, making the protection of the law for older people no less than the protection for people of color, for women or for people of different faiths.”
Before the court’s ruling in June, if an employee could prove that age was a factor in an adverse employment decision, the employer then had to show that its actions were valid for a reason other than age discrimination. But as a result of the court’s decision, generally welcomed by business, employees now face the full burden of demonstrating that age was the only reason.
Watch a show about the Gross decision and resulting legislation at www.aarp.org/tv beginning Nov. 6.
Alan Green lives in Germantown, Md.