Monday, June 7, 2010

Commission on Civil Rights to Hold Hearing on Age Discrimination

CocrThe US Commission on Civil rights, one of my favorite lesser known federal agencies, is holding a hearing this Friday on Age Discrimination. From the press release

DATE AND TIME: Friday, June 11, 2010; 9:30 a.m. EDT

PLACE: 624 9th St., N.W.

Room 540

Washington, DC 20425

The current economic crisis has forced many companies to cut costs and downsize by, among other things, laying off workers, cutting salaries and exploring early retirement options with their employees.  In a nation where "baby boomers" born in the late 1940s and early 1950s are now at or near retirement age, older workers may experience disproportionately greater effects of company downsizing, whether real or merely perceived.  In addition, many retired senior citizens living on pensions or investments may face marked reductions in the income of their assets and seek reentry into the work force.  The Commission's briefing will address the impact of the current economic crisis on workers over 40 who are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  The Commission will hear testimony from witnesses analyzing statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, on whether older workers are less employed than in earlier years, the duration of unemployment, and whether age discrimination lawsuits have increased during the economic downturn.  Witnesses will also consider the effectiveness of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in enforcing the law, and the effect of recent Supreme Court decisions governing ADEA on age discrimination claims.  

Witnesses appearing at the briefing will include:

Walt Connolly, senior partner, Connolly Rodgers & Scharman

Michael Harper, Professor, Boston University School of Law

Dianna Johnston, Assistant Legal Counsel, EEOC

Laurie McCann, Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation

Elizabeth Milito, Senior Executive Counsel, National Federation of Independent Business

Thomas Nardone, Assistant Commissioner for Current Employment Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, President of Workplace Fairness

A Commission business meeting will follow the briefing.

Persons with a disability requiring special services should contact Pamela Dunston at least seven days prior to the meeting at 202-376-8105.  

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged with monitoring federal civil rights enforcement.  Members include Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, Vice Chair Abigail Thernstrom, Commissioners Todd Gaziano, Gail Heriot, Peter N. Kirsanow, Arlan D. Melendez, Ashley L. Taylor, Jr., and Michael Yaki.  Martin Dannenfelser is the Staff Director.  Commission meetings are open to the general public.  The Commission's website is

This should be a very interesting hearing, and I hope that the witness' remarks will be available. If I can find them, I'll provide an update with links.


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