In the first opinion of the Supreme Court’s new term, the Court ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) applies to state and local government employers, regardless of their size. The ADEA makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on age. At issue was whether the word “employer” as set forth in the law included states or political subdivisions of the state. In general, the definition provides “employer” is defined as a person or entity with 20 or more employees. Further in the text of the law, employer is defined to “also mean” a state or political subdivision of a state. Courts disagreed whether the 20 or more employees requirement applied to governmental bodies as well. The Supreme Court interpreted this as meaning any governmental body, regardless of size. Thus, in this instance two men who had sued a fire district for age discrimination could continue their suit, despite the fact that the district had few than 20 employees.
Lower courts disagreed about whether that meant any government unit was covered by the law or only those with 20 or more employees. Ginsburg noted that a majority of States also prohibit age discrimination by political subdivisions of any size.
For more information or if you believe you may been discriminated at your job on the basis of age, please contact the dedicated Georgia age discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.