A survey released Tuesday by the AARP finds older Arkansans overwhelmingly support legislation furthering protections for older employees in the workplace. Age discrimination occurs when a person is the target of an adverse employment decision because of their age. The survey reported legislation designed to combat the problem, the Protecting Older Workers Against Age Discrimination Act, is supported by 81% of Arkansans over age 50.
Arkansas AARP Director Maria Reynolds-Diaz said the measure is necessary to restore protections from age discrimination that were changed after a 2009 Supreme Court ruling in Gross v. FBL Financial Services.
“This decision made it much harder to prove age discrimination and it requires that older workers must prove that age was the decisive reason for their treatment rather than one reason,” Reynolds-Diaz said.
She also said it is important to protect the rights of older Arkansans because they often have a harder time coping with a job loss.
“It’s catastrophic quite often when they lose their job and then they can’t find a job. It takes them a awhile. The other thing is that we know that people just do not have the savings. Half of older workers, it’s reported, have less than $25,000 in savings.”
Reynolds-Diaz said on average, it takes older workers about a year to find a new job.
The full survey report is available here.