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Cases of Age Discrimination in Iowa are Getting Old

PHOTO: Residents from across Iowa are gathering this morning (10-11 a.m.) to share their stories of age discrimination in the workplace. Photo credit: Jenn Durfey/Flickr
PHOTO: Residents from across Iowa are gathering this morning (10-11 a.m.) to share their stories of age discrimination in the workplace. Photo credit: Jenn Durfey/Flickr
May 29, 2014

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – As Congress considers legislation to provide protections for older workers, Iowans are sharing their stories of age discrimination on the job today at a public hearing in Cedar Rapids.

AARP Iowa is hosting the event.

State Director Kent Sovern says age discrimination in the workplace is a significant issue for Iowa's 50-plus population.

"What we hear from our members is that about two-out-of-three of our members and older Iowans either have been affected directly by age discrimination in the workplace, or have a personal relationship with somebody who's been affected by age discrimination," he says.

A Supreme Court decision has changed how laws are applied in age-discrimination cases, so Sens. Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin of Iowa have co-sponsored the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.

Sovern says the act aims to restore the standards prior to the ruling, which, he says:

"Set apart age discrimination as having a different evidentiary standard as discrimination by race, ethnicity, disability and the other protected classes."

Sovern notes that older workers were among those hardest hit during the recession and these protections are needed as many try to catch up on retirement savings.

"So, not only does it effect their immediate financial security, but obviously their financial security into their retirement years because their savings are eroded, 401Ks are often converted for other uses, so it has profound effects on family and on community, as well," he points out.

This morning's public hearing on age discrimination is at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids and is open to all.


John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA