Articles Posted in ADEA

Summary: This article briefly looks at the trend of the aging workforce—sensationalized or real? It also touches on some of the positive and negative impacts of that potential trend. 

In the last decade or so, the media has begun talking about the so-calledgraying” of the American workforce—the idea that people are working later in life and retiring later, if at all.  Sometimes this is talked about in almost apocalyptic terms when it comes to productivity and benefits.  First, this article touches on the actual extent to which that is true.  Second, because a lot of coverage of this phenomenon seems to be from a “macro” (i.e., employer’s) perspective, this article briefly explores some of the implications of that trend for the workers’ themselves.

First of all, this is a real trend: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the share of the workforce age 75 or over will almost double by 2030.  This is in large part driven by the Baby Boomer generation.  However, in absolute terms this “problem” may be bit overblown by the media: those same projections say the share of the workforce in the 55-74 age bracket will actually decrease by 2030, and even the 75+ age bracket will be less than 12 percent of the workforce by 2030.  In addition, while the average age of retirement is going up, it is doing so slowly, creeping up by approximately 3 years since the early 1990s.  Life expectancy overall has been increasing, though not during the pandemic years; it remains to be seen if the upward trend in that resumes.  Though not some immediate existential threat, this aging of the population likely will put increasing pressure on our social safety nets.          

This presidential election is the most critical election of our time. Aside from the obvious presidential contest, all 435 seats in the United Stated House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate, 13 state and territorial governorships, and numerous other state and local elections are contested. This election does not only decide who will occupy the oval office for the next four years, but also who will sit on our country’s highest court, and enforce our local laws.  The impacts of this election will be felt for years, especially in the context of issues involving labor and employment law.

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The Coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted American workplaces. Employees in various industries have reported cuts in work hours, cuts in salary, job-loss, and instructions to work from home. While the world as we know it is changing and adapting to the “new normal,” discrimination laws remain the same. Employees are still protected against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This is true even if you are working from home.

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Recently, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that will have a significant impact in federal age discrimination cases against government employers. In the case Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido, the Court held the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to government employers of all sizes.


When the ADEA was passed in 1967, it added age to the list of characteristics that could not be used by an employer as a basis for an adverse employment decision. Under section 630(b), the ADEA defines the term employer as “a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has twenty or more employees.” However, the statute also states that an employer “also means … a State or political subdivision of a State and any agency or instrumentality of a State or a political subdivision of a State.”

The Facts of the Case

According to the Court’s opinion, the plaintiffs were two men, aged 46 and 54, who were terminated from their positions by the defendant fire department when the fire department began facing budgetary concerns. The fire department was a political subdivision of the State of Arizona. At the time they were fired, the employees were the oldest two firefighters in the department.

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