Age Discrimination: Regulatory Action?

We’ve blogged before about how mounting job cuts amid the economic downturn are resulting in an increase in employee lawsuits. At a public hearing  yesterday the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) focused on recent developments in age discrimination complaints. According to the EEOC, while overall job discrimination complaints were up by 15 percent in 2008, the number of allegations of age discrimination increased by nearly 30 percent, compared with 2007. The EEOC is now considering new regulations to protect older workers from job discrimination in the wake of recent adverse court decisions that have made it harder for older workers to successfully challenge age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). For example, just last month in a 5-4 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees bringing federal age-discrimination claims bear the burden of proving their age was a key factor in their reassignment by an employer (Gross v. FBL Financial Services).   Previously, workers had to show that age was just one factor in the employment decision and then the burden of proving there was a permissible reason for the action shifted to the employer. For more on the EEOC hearing, check out today’s Washington Post online article by Steve Vogel. Check out I.I.I. information on specialty lines such as employment practices liability (EPL) insurance.

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