Letter to the Editor

Age discrimination laws

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

AARP works diligently on a variety of issues that affect the quality of life for seniors and all Missourians. Whether it's fighting to keep utility rates fair or addressing fraud and abuse in Medicare, our members know we're in their corner. An issue has been raised in the Missouri state legislature which now has AARP's attention, and we believe Missourians of all ages should take notice. There is legislation (Senate Bill 592 and House Bill 219) that is designed to make it tougher for older workers to bring age discrimination cases forward. In general, it weakens civil rights law that protects all Missourians from denials of equal opportunity in the workplace.

Missouri is fortunate that its current civil rights laws are strong. Under current law, Missouri workers have a decent right to fight age discrimination -- and this is important since federal law for older workers is questionable. Since the federal law is not as strong as it should be, Missouri should strive to strengthen age discrimination laws, not weaken them. This is essential.

AARP is opposed to HB 219 and SB 592 because they would make it easier for companies to discriminate against older workers covered by the Missouri Human Rights Act. Passage of these bills will not create jobs; they will just make it easier for companies to discriminate with impunity.

CRAIG EICHELMAN, state director, AARP Missouri, Kansas City, Mo.