U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez announced this week that the White House will hold a “Summit on Worker Voice” on October 7 to “energize a new generation of Americans to come together and recognize the potential power of their voice at work.”
That’s great but … what about the “older generation” of American workers?
The Obama administration is currently engaging in the most outrageous assault on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 since 2009. That’s the year that the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services that made it far more difficult to win a lawsuit alleging age discrimination than discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin and color.
Obama signed an executive order in 2010 that permits federal agencies to discriminate against older workers.
More recently, Perez endorsed the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, in which America’s leading corporations (Walmart, Starbucks, Microsoft, etc.) have announced plans to discriminate against older workers and hire ” youth” aged 16 – 24 for tens of thousands of part-time and full-time jobs. Neither Perez nor Starbucks, the main organizer of the initiative, have explained what legal justification exists for violating the plain the plain language of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Good intentions cannot justify violating federal discrimination laws.
Reach for American Dream
Perez applauds early labor advocates for the eight-hour work day and the weekend, noting these benefits were not inevitable but were “demanded by the working people of this nation … who wanted their chance to reach for the American dream.”