November 12, 2018

State and subdivisions of state are subject to ADEA regardless of its number of employees in contrast to a private sector employer where the law applies only to "an industry affecting commerce" having twenty or more employees


State and subdivisions of state are subject to ADEA regardless of its number of employees in contrast to a private sector employer where the law applies only to "an industry affecting commerce" having twenty or more employees
Mount Lemmon Fire District Petitioner v John Guido, Et Al., Cite as: 586 U. S.____ (2018)

The Mount Lemmon Fire District laid off its two oldest full-time firefighters, John Guido (then 46) and Dennis Rankin (then 54). Guido and Rankin sued the Fire District, alleging that their termination violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), 81 Stat. 602, as amended, 29 U. S. C. §621 et seq.

The Fire District sought dismissal of the suit on the ground that the District was too small to qualify as an “employer” within the ADEA’s as the controlling definition in 29 U. S. C. §630(b), provides that the term "employer" means a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has twenty or more employees and the Fire District had fewer that 20 employee.  

The Supreme Court ruled that  in accord with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, that §630(b)’s two-sentence delineation, and the expression “also means” at the start of the second sentence, combine to establish separate categories: persons engaged in an industry affecting commerce with 20 or more employees but with respect to a states or a political subdivision of a state, there is not "numerosity limitation" it matters not whether the Fire District had five employees or five hundered employees insofar as the reach of ADEA was concerned.

The Supreme Court agreed and ruled in favor of Guido and Rankin.

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