Notorious RBG and An Election Run-down

November 8, 2018 |

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued the Court’s first opinion for the new year.  The opinion was authored by Justice Ginsburg and involved the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).  The decision reconciled lower court disagreement as to whether the law applies to any government units or only those with 20 or more employees.  (Spoiler, it applies to government units of any size according to the SCOTUS).

As a reminder the ADEA states that an employer may not discriminate against an employee who is 40 years old or older.  An employer is defined as a person or entity with 20 or more employees.  However, the law also states that employer also means a state or a political subdivision of a state. The Court clarified that: “the ordinary meaning of ‘also means’ is additive rather than clarifying.” When addressing concern that the ruling would put public services at risk by applying  the law to small subdivisions, Ginsburg wrote:

“For 30 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has consistently interpreted the ADEA as we do today…And a majority of states forbid age discrimination by political subdivisions of any size . . . No untoward service shrinkages have been documented.”

So that’s that.

And now, Election Day 2018 has come and gone, and while we can all agree to disagree about what it all means for the future of our country, there are some things that are certain:

More Marijuana

  • Michigan legalized recreational use and possession of marijuana for people age 21 and over. If you have employees in Michigan, it is time to take a look at your drug policies.
  • Missouri voted to amend its Constitution to legalize medical marijuana. This is another area where employers should take a look at their drug policies and update them to specifically address medicinal marijuana use.
  • It also looks like Utah’s Medical Marijuana Initiative will also pass.

Higher Minimum Wage

  • Arkansas voted to increase the state minimum wage to $9.25 on January 1, 2019 and increasing to $11 per hour by 2021.
  • Missouri will increase the minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019 and every year until it reaches $12 per hour by 2023, and then it will increase or decrease based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.


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