California residents should be aware of a proposed law that could make it much easier for victims of workplace age discrimination to pursue monetary damages in court. While the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) has been proposed many times over the past decade, some analysts predict that it could be passed this year.
In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court made the decision to make it much harder to prove age discrimination cases. The vote was close at 5-4, but employers were the winners, not victims of age discrimination. While older plaintiffs are still able to sue their employers after being demoted or terminated, they are currently required to show that age was the sole factor in why they lost their positions or jobs. This is not an easy feat and has led to many failed lawsuits. After all, the supreme court’s decision permits employers to more easily argue that the plaintiff would have been fired regardless of his or her age.
A U.S. Representative from Virginia is a chairperson of the House Education and Labor Committee as well as a dedicated co-sponsor of POWADA. He explains that POWADA is necessary to restore the pre-2009 alignment between Title VII and the ADEA, which would make it easier for older employees to prove they were legitimately discriminated against. Despite the optimism of some supporters, an artificial intelligence program that detects a bill’s chances of success has stated that POWADA only has a 5% chance of being passed.
An employee who believes they have been discriminated against may consider consulting an attorney with experience in workplace discrimination. An experienced attorney might be able to help prove that age discrimination was a factor in the employer’s decision to demote or terminate the employee.