Majority Press

Casey Holds Hearing on Economic Toll of COVID-19 on Older Workers

Aging Chairman Highlights Bipartisan, Bicameral Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing entitled, “A Changing Workforce: Supporting Older Workers Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.” The hearing examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected older Americans’ employment and financial security and what must be done to help them get back on their feet as the Nation’s economy recovers. Senator Casey highlighted his bipartisan, bicameral Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) and the importance of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan for spurring economic growth and supporting older workers.

“As older workers are looking to return to work safely, it is more important than ever that Congress dismantle barriers that have long made it more difficult for them to succeed in the workplace. That is why I re-introduced my bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act,” said Chairman Casey. “This bipartisan bill would strengthen age discrimination protections and make it easier for older workers to seek justice in court. As we build a better economy, we must ensure older workers are included and prioritized every step of the way.”

POWADA would restore critical protections in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and make it easier for employees to prove when they are a victim of age discrimination in the workplace. Older workers are currently required to meet a significantly higher burden of proof when alleging age discrimination than is required of workers alleging other forms of workplace discrimination.

During the hearing, Chairman Casey heard from Ramsey Alwin, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging. “It’s time to treat age discrimination the same as every other unlawful bias in the workplace,” said Ms. Alwin. “Senator Casey’s Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) is a great start, and we applaud him and Sen. Collins for supporting this bipartisan endeavor.”

Senator Casey also read from a statement for the record submitted by Bonnie Marcus from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, who lost her job due to age discrimination. “It was so painful to be thrown away like something that was used up and not needed,” read Ms. Marcus’ statement. “I hope you can help others to not have to go through what I did.”

Senator Casey also emphasized how enacting the American Jobs Plan would benefit older workers, who often experience longer periods of unemployment, by generating economic growth and creating millions of good-paying jobs. Senator Casey and Senate Aging Committee Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Martin Walsh urging the Department of Labor to prioritize supporting older workers during the economy recovery.

Read more about POWADA here.