It’s unanimous! Supreme Court rules that any public-sector employee 40 years or older may file an age-bias claim

Lest you think that eight Supreme Court Justices — Justice Kavanaugh did not participate — can never see eye-to-eye on how to resolve an employment law issue. 

Yesterday, the Court unanimously concluded in Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido (here) that while the Age Discrimination in Employment Act covers private-sector employers with 20 or more employees, the ADEA covers state and local governments employers regardless of the number of employees they have.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “But, Title VII isn’t that broad. It only covers public-sector employers with 15 or more employees.”

And I’d say, “You’re a nerd for knowing that.”

And the Supreme Court would say, “True, reading the ADEA as written to apply to States and political subdivisions regardless of size gives the ADEA, in this regard, a broader reach than Title VII. But this disparity is a consequence of the different language Congress chose to employ.”

I like my quip better. But, either way, there you have it.

Now, for those of you private-sector employers with 19 employees twisting your handlebar mustaches thinking about how you’re going to do an older employee dirty, remember that the state and local laws in which your company operates may be more stringent.

Plus, the ADEA applies to private-sector employers with 20 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. So, even if you drop below 20 employees, you may still be covered for a bit.

Hey, if you’re interested in know more about how many employees you need to have to be covered by specific employment laws, I blogged about that a while ago.


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