Iowa Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley joined with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in reintroducing legislation that addresses the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial and ensures vital civil rights protections for workers.
Harkin is the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee while Senators Leahy and Grassley are the Chairman and ranking member respectively of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross, it is harder for workers facing age discrimination and other forms of discrimination and retaliation to enforce their rights.
The Court held that plaintiffs alleging age discrimination must prove that age was the “but for” or deciding factor in an employment decision. In contrast, plaintiffs alleging discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and religion need only prove that discrimination was a “motivating factor.”
The Court’s holding specifically means that victims of age discrimination face a higher burden than those alleging race, sex, national origin or religious discrimination.
Lower courts have applied Gross to claims alleging discrimination on the basis of disability, and this June, the Supreme Court applied Gross to retaliation claims based on race, sex, national origin and religion under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act is designed to restore fundamental fairness.