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State Senate Backs Anti-Age-Bias Bill

January 23, 1998|From Associated Press

Responding to a series of court decisions on a lawsuit in Orange County, the state Senate on Thursday voted to give older employees more protection against employers who try to replace them with younger, lower-paid workers.

By a 22-8 vote, the upper house sent the Assembly a bill that would bar an employer from firing, demoting or refusing to hire a worker over age 40 simply because a younger employee could do the job for less money.

"It sends a signal to the employer that the employer can't arbitrarily terminate somebody to increase profits because that somebody is older and therefore has risen to a higher salary," said the bill's author, Sen. Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco).

Twenty Democrats and one Republican joined Kopp in voting for the bill.

The bill stems from an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by aerospace accountant Michael J. Marks, who lost his job when Loral Corp. eliminated corporate finance staff positions in Newport Beach in 1992.

Marks contended that Loral violated age discrimination laws, but an Orange County Superior Court jury found no discrimination.

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