If you’re between the ages of 50 and 64, chances are good that you have. In Iowa, it’s difficult to know how widespread the practice is, but consider these numbers from AARP’s National Survey on Age Discrimination:
• About two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents think that people over age 50 face age discrimination in the workplace. Furthermore, nearly one-third say they have faced discrimination themselves in the last four years or know someone who has.
• Since the landmark Gross v. FBL Financial Services Supreme Court case of 2009 (involving Iowan Jack Gross) makes it more difficult for older workers to prove age discrimination, 82 percent of respondents believe that ruling makes it easier for employers to discriminate.
• More than three-fourths (78 percent) of respondents support the proposed Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) and want their members of Congress to support it.
Consider, too, that Iowans ages 50-64 make up 20 percent of the state’s population and that 69.1 percent of those pay for their health coverage through their employer (both numbers are higher than the national average) and you can see how important it is for older Iowans to be protected from age discrimination.
That is why AARP strongly supports POWADA and is vigorous in our fight against age discrimination for all Iowans. POWADA is a bipartisan, limited legislation bill aimed at restoring well-established legal standards on workplace discrimination that were upended by a 2009 Supreme Court decision. The bill’s lead sponsors are Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin.
If you’re a victim of age discrimination or have a story related to the issue that you’re willing to share, we’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail your story to firstname.lastname@example.org or give Ann Black a call at 515-697-1003.