Lustre Letter to Congress: End Age Discrimination
Dear Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi:
We are both recently retired corporate lawyers and New York City residents. After we retired, we founded our website Lustre, www.lustre.net, to advocate for retired career women who want to break down outdated stereotypes about age and use their experience, skills and insights as a foundation for continued engagement in the workforce. In light of the recent Seventh Circuit en banc opinion in Kleber v. CareFusion Corp., 2019 WL290241 (7th Cir. Jan. 23, 2019), we are writing to urge Congress urgently to accept the invitation of that Court and “extend section 4(a)(2) [of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act] to outside job applicants.”
We disagree with the en banc decision. The statute is not given its full effect if its protections do not apply to older job applicants. Congress can, however, fix this. We believe that the undisputed facts below should garner bipartisan support for an amendment that makes protection from discrimination applicable to job applicants too:
First, there are approximately 75 million boomers in the US, and we are retiring from the workforce at a rate of about 10,000 per day. Sixty-five percent of us want to continue to work.
Second, it is critical for the millions of Boomers, who are expected to live decades longer, to maintain their mental and physical health as long as possible. Work can help prevent us from becoming burdens on our families and our economy.
Third, Boomers have a vast amount of experience and skills. The country has a skilled labor shortage. Labor shortages have a direct impact on GDP. Why exclude productive people solely on the basis of age?
We urge you to give effect to Congress’ intent, amend the ADEA, and make it work not only for those who are employed but also for those who want to be.
Erica Baird Karen E. Wagner
Dated and sent on January 31, 2019