Public Sector Employers and Age Discrimination

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When Mount Lemmon (Arizona) Fire District faced a budget crisis, it laid off its two oldest (and highest paid) full-time firefighters.

They sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The district argued that it did not violate any laws because it is too small to be considered an “employer” under the ADEA. Section 630(b) of the ADEA defines the term “employer” to mean any individual or company who has 20 or more employees. It states the term employer “also means a State or political subdivision of a State.”

The district argued that the two sentences should be

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