Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has secured another win in her ongoing fight for workplace protections with her current target set on age discrimination.
“Far too often, older workers are being denied employment, passed over for promotions, or even fired just because of their age,” the New York Democrat said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Gillibrand’s new bill would bar so-called “forced arbitration” for age discrimination cases as part of employment agreements. Such clauses mandate workers settle disputes through the often secretive arbitration process.
Instead, under Gillibrand’s legislation, workers would have the option to, for example, sue publicly in court,” she said.
Data compiled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows that over the past decade, workers have filed roughly 170,000 age discrimination claims.
The new bill builds on work Gillibrand did in the last session of Congress, when she successfully led efforts restricting non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and limiting forced arbitration in cases of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace.
In both of those fights, she was joined by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. That same team is now together again to take on discrimination.
“As America ages, this is going to be a bigger problem, not a smaller problem.” Graham said, making the bill’s introduction.
“This bill is about personal accountability, transparency, and freedom. The ability for older American workers to decide what’s best for them,” Carlson said.
The last two bills dealing with sexual harassment received wide bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
Since then, the House has changed hands, and Republicans are now in control. Even so, the lead sponsor in that chamber – Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, a Republican – insists this new bill should be “an easy lift.”