The U.S. Supreme Court recently had a unanimous ruling about the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) where all public employees in state or local government positions are now protected from age bias.
Initially, the act only covered employers with more than 20 employees. Now, it includes all public employees – despite department size. However, it’s critical to note that ADEA still only applies to employers with 20 or more staff on the private level.
The lawsuit covered two firefighter captains in Arizona who were terminated due to their age. The local fire district was initially seen as too small to qualify as an employer. However, the lower courts and the U.S. Supreme Court found all subdivisions should hold to the ADEA.
Some critics fear negative implications for small public entities, but most judges and employees see the ruling as a positive step forward for the aging population in the workforce. It’s also a critical ruling for small business owners and how they should approach their employment policies in the future.
Discrimination in California
The state of California recognizes all federal guidelines for protecting workers from age discrimination. The rights for workers over the age of 40 are included in the ADEA and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Both acts allow workers to pursue compensation and their position in a wrongful termination. If you believe you were discriminated against due to your age, visit the California Department of Fair Employment website to see the resources and remedies available.