Two Illinois Congressman are divided on ageism in the workplace. AARP, a national advocacy organization that concentrates on issues important to the 50-plus crowd, recently purchased a full-page ad in The State Journal-Register to thank Rep. Rodney Davis for voting for House Resolution 1230 that reversed a Supreme Court decision that raised the burden of proof on workers who allege age discrimination influenced an employer’s conduct.
Under the court decision, instead of just proving that age played a role in an employer’s discrimination, the older worker must prove that age played a “decisive” role, according to AARP. The bill would restore the law to what it was in 2009. The bill passed the House on January 15th, with Davis joining 34 Republicans who joined Democrats in voting for the bill. According to the State Journal-Register, Davis also sponsored an amendment, which was added to the bill, that requires the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to conduct a comprehensive study on age discrimination against women. Ageism in the workplace hits women at the age of 40, 5 years sooner than men according to national research.
18th District Congressman Darin LaHood voted against the bill. LaHood spokesman John Rauber told the Journal-Register that age discrimination is already against the law and that U.S. Supreme Court has already consistently been against ageism. Rauber said that the bill will only increase frivolous lawsuits and divert resources. Ryan Gruenenfelder, director of advocacy and outreach for AARP Illinois, said the newspaper ad was not an endorsement of Davis’ re-election campaign this November but a ‘thank you’ for voting for the measure. The ad, which was published in the Springfield paper last Friday, doesn’t have a picture of the congressman nor mention him by first name. The full Senate has yet to vote on HR1230 for it to be sent to the president for his signature.