Search form

Supreme Court: Age Discrimination in Employment Act Applies to All State, Local Government Employers

By Collin O’Connor Udell and Abraham N. Saiger
  • November 6, 2018

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to state and local government employers, regardless of their size, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a unanimous (8-0) seven-page decision. Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido, No. 17-587 (Nov. 6, 2018).

The Court’s ruling resolves a significant circuit split among the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits, on the one hand, and the Ninth Circuit, on the other.

The Court rejected an Arizona fire district’s argument that it could not be held liable for age discrimination under the ADEA because the Act applies only to state and private employers with at least 20 employees.

The ADEA defines “employer” as a person “engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has 20 or more employees .… The term also means (1) any agent of such a person, and (2) a State or political subdivision of a State.” 29 U.S.C. § 630(b).

Affirming the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Court held that a natural reading of “also means” indicates a new category of employers that is not subject to the 20-employee threshold set forth in the first part of the definition. Based on this interpretation, the Court ruled that the ADEA applies to state and local employers, regardless of their size.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the Court, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

In light of this decision, small state and local government entities may need to reevaluate some of their employment practices. Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist with this process.

©2018 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm with more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries. Having built its reputation on providing premier workplace law representation to management, the firm has grown to include leading practices in the areas of government relations, healthcare and sports law. For more information, visit www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

March 20, 2019

New Jersey Prohibits Enforcement of Non-Disclosure Provisions in Settlement Agreements, Other Contracts

March 20, 2019

A sweeping amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) bars enforcement of non-disclosure provisions in settlement agreements and employment contracts, and prohibits the waiver of substantive and procedural rights under the statute. The amendment applies to all contracts and agreements entered into, renewed, modified, or... Read More

February 28, 2019

Portland, Oregon, Bars Discrimination Against Atheists, Agnostics

February 28, 2019

An amendment to the civil rights code of Portland, Oregon, extends protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations to atheists, agnostics, and other “non-believers.” Religious facilities are expressly exempt. The Portland City Code, chapter 23.01, already prohibits discrimination on the basis of... Read More

February 27, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) Is Not Subject to Equitable Tolling

February 27, 2019

In a decision important to class action practice, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f), which establishes a 14-day deadline to seek permission to appeal an order granting or denying class certification, is not subject to equitable tolling. Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, No. 17-1094 (Feb. 26, 2019... Read More

Related Practices