WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Assistant Speaker Clark (MA-5) celebrated the passage of the Protect Older Job Applicants (POJA) Act, legislation to protect older job applicants from age discrimination during the hiring process. The POJA Act will codify and clarify protections for older job applicants in the current Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to ensure that legal protections extend beyond current employees. 

“It’s Congress’ duty to combat discrimination in all its forms - including ageism,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “In order to rebuild an economy that works for everyone, we need to ensure that everyone can equitably participate in the workforce. The Protect Older Job Applicants Act will provide older applicants with the protections they rightfully deserve during the hiring process.”


"Despite having valuable skills and experience older workers who lose a job are far more likely to become part of the long-term unemployed. This is particularly true for older workers of color who have higher rates of unemployment. As a result, job seekers may be forced to spend down modest savings, leave the workforce prematurely, and face higher rates of economic insecurity in retirement. The Protect Older Job Applicants Act of 2021 acknowledges this problem and begins to address age discrimination in hiring practices by providing protections for older job applicants that were previously only available to the employed," said Edna Pruce, President of Mass Senior Action Council.


While many employers and legal scholars have interpreted the ADEA as applying to job applicants and employees, two federal circuit courts ruled that some provisions of the ADEA’s federal anti-age discrimination protections only applied to current employees, not job applicants. These narrow interpretations contradict the intentions of the ADEA’s creators and the POJA Act specifically includes job applicants as protected under the ADEA.

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