Tuesday, May 17, 2011

House members propose bill to override Supreme Court's age discrimination ruling

Several United States congressmen have proposed legislation to address a controversial 2009 ruling by the Supreme Court on age discrimination claims.  In Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., the Supreme Court made a dramatic change to the standard of proof in cases brought under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), ruling that a claimant must show that age was the "but-for" cause of the adverse employment action.  Previously, the standard required showing that age was a "motivating factor" in the employment action.  This "motivating factor" standard is applied in Title VII cases, which the ADEA was modeled after, and thus the Supreme Court's departure from this standard in the age discrimination context seemed perplexing to many (including Justice Stevens in dissent).  Almost immediately, Democratic senators began an initiative to pass legislation to overturn the decision.  Now the effort has begun anew, this time in the House of Representatives.

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