Supreme Court Holds ADEA Applies to All Public Employers Regardless of Size

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court held that state and local government employers are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) regardless of the number of employees they have. Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido (2018). The unanimous decision affirmed the 9th Circuit’s holding that the 20+ employee minimum to invoke coverage under the ADEA does not apply to public sector employers. The holding was contrary to all other federal appellate court decisions on the issue.

As a reminder, the ADEA is a federal employment discrimination law protecting employees 40 years or older from discrimination on the basis of age.

The Court’s decision means that local government employers are now covered by the age discrimination law regardless of size, and must now adhere to more stringent requirements for waivers of age claims. However, other discrimination laws (sex, race, disability, national origin, religion, etc.) are unchanged by this decision and still do not apply to public employers with fewer than 15 employees.

For the full Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido opinion, click here.

If you have any questions related to how this new decision might affect you or any other employment law matters, contact Sheila Gladstone (512-322-5863;, Ashley Thomas (512-322-5881;, or Emily Linn (512-322-5889; of Lloyd Gosselink’s Employment Law Practice Group.

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