Justices rule for firefighters claiming age discrimination

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has decided unanimously that local governments with small workforces must comply with a federal law against age discrimination.

The justices ruled Tuesday in favor of two Arizona firefighters who claimed they were laid off because of their age when the local fire district they worked for faced a budget squeeze.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the court’s first opinion of the term and rejected arguments by the Mount Lemmon Fire District northeast of Tucson that it was not covered by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act because it employs fewer than 20 people.

A federal judge had dismissed the firefighters’ claims, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reinstated them. The case now returns to district court.

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