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Federal bill addresses workplace discrimination based on age

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, including age discrimination. Older workers in California, rather than being respected for their experience and knowledge may find themselves being passed up for promotions, ridiculed for their age or even forced into early retirement simply due to their age. This is age discrimination, and it is against federal and state law.

However, one federal bill, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, may make it easier for workers to prove they have experienced age discrimination in the workplace. The bill would reverse a workplace discrimination ruling made by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009. In that ruling, it was determined that to prove age discrimination, workers had to show that their age was the primary factor in the adverse employment activity. Under this bill, workers would only have to show their age was a factor in the adverse employment activity, even if it was not the sole reason for the activity.

The bill was recently approved by the House Education and Labor Committee and has bipartisan support. The next step is for the bill to move to the full House of Representatives for a vote, and then it will to the Senate for a vote before it can be signed into law.

It remains to be seen if this bill will become law. Until then, the bill is just that -- a bill -- and current laws regarding age discrimination still stand. Because proving age discrimination can be difficult, those who have been impacted by such discrimination will want to seek professional legal guidance, so they can determine what steps to take moving forward. Age discrimination should never be tolerated, so it is important that those who believe they are victims hold their employer responsible for the damages they suffered.

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