Business cheered the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. F.B.L. Financial Services that set the bar higher for age discrimination claims by employees. Prior to Gross, employees need merely show in court that age was one factor in their adverse job decision (a firing or passing over for promotion, for instance). Now they must show that it was the main factor. Failing that proof, a trial cannot proceed.
However, as they did with the Lilly Ledbetter decision of 2007, and as legal observers predicted when Gross was decided, the Democrats are fighting back against the high court.
Congressional Democrats in the House and Senate have concocted the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA–POW?), which re-establishes the standard that the Supreme Court rejected, that of merely showing age was a factor in the adverse job decision.
“This extremely high burden really undermines workers’ ability to hold employers accountable,” said Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a news conference.
Harkin was joined by co-sponsors Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D.-Vt.) and Congressman George Miller (D.-Calif.).
"The same Supreme Court responsible for the backward ruling against Lilly Ledbetter has now thrown another legal barrier in front of hardworking older Americans," added Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.
The three Democrats are also enthusiastic sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which business has denounced as undemocratic because it virtually does away with the secret ballot in unionization drives.