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AARP: Court Decisions on Workplace Discrimination Disappointing

Nassar decision makes it imperative that Congress pass bipartisan age discrimination legislation.


WASHINGTON – AARP Director of Financial Security Cristina Martin Firvida offered the following statement today in reaction to decisions by the Supreme Court in two workplace-related cases: Vance v. Ball State University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.


“AARP is disappointed that the Court’s decisions in the Vance and Nassar cases handed down this morning will make it more difficult for employees who have been victims of discrimination in the workplace.


“The Nassar case has its basis in the Court’s limiting 2009 age discrimination decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, which held that older workers have a higher burden of proof to workplace discrimination than other workers, making it more difficult for older employees seeking redress against age discrimination.


“Since Gross, AARP and other civil rights groups have urged enactment of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), a bipartisan bill in Congress to clarify the law on age discrimination, as well as the other civil rights laws, including Title VII retaliation cases like Nassar.


“Today, as feared given the trend of lower court decisions since Gross, the Court has erected the same barriers for all other workers seeking to show they were retaliated against for challenging job discrimination. We concur with the dissent that the ball is in Congress’ court to correct these burdensome decisions. The Nassar decision makes it all the more imperative for Congress to pass the POWADA bill this year on a bipartisan basis.


“AARP also regrets the Vance opinion regarding the definition of supervisors, which as Justice Ginsburg states ‘lacks sensitivity to the realities of life at work.’ We believe that corrective action by Congress will be needed in this area as well.”


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