counter-campaign telling employees not to take the training. Turner is not a party listed in the suit, but said through his office, “Not only has CSEA

never had an issue with job training, we’ve advocated for years with department heads and the district superintendent for our members to receive training in their respective fields.” Turner said his issue was with ensuring employees were paid for training, not in pre- venting them from taking it all together.

“(O’Riley) would schedule trainings she deemed mandatory, with little to no advance notification, scheduling these trainings during our members’ unpaid holiday and vaca- tion breaks or on members’ personal time off, without pay,” Turner said. “Not only is that disrespectful, it’s also illegal.” But that wasn’t all. O’Riley additionally said she struggled to keep her students off of an allegedly politically connected vendor’s buses. After vendor AllWays East (AWE) lost its insurance coverage, O’Riley advised the school board not to renew its contract. She said that decision was constantly criticized by Rev. Steven Lopez, at the time the school board vice president, who O’Riley added was “close, personal friends with the owners.” Lopez was named president of the school board in July 2016 and remains in the position to this day. He is up for reelection in May. According to the lawsuit, Lopez continued to petition for AWE to be used for charters and field trips, and O’Riley “had to intervene and inform the schools that they could not charter transportation if the company did not have the proper insurance and other approvals and that AWE still did not have the proper clearance.”

Guido was then 46 years old and Rankin 54—making them the two oldest mem- bers of the Mount Lemmon Fire District. “I thought that they had a good claim of discrimination and I thought that the

employer would settle this,” Awerkamp said. Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against can take the first step by filing a charge with the Equal Em- ployment Opportunity Commission, he explained. After a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Arizona found for the fire de- partment and dismissed the case, Guido and Rankin appealed to the 9th Circuit, which reversed the ruling. On behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained in detail the statute grammar. “The definitional provision’s two-sentence delineation, set out in §630(b), and the expression ‘also means’ at the start of §630(b)’s second sentence, combine to establish separate categories: persons engaged in an industry affecting commerce with 20 or more employees; and States or political subdivisions with no attendant numerosity limitation,” she wrote. While the Supreme Court ruling may be seen as a win for employees of small politi-

cal subdivisions, the legal battle is far from over for the former firefighters. Now that the case has been returned to the district court, Awerkamp said he expects a jury trial sometime this year. Guido is now employed with the Arizona National Guard, and Rankin joined the

South Tucson Police Department. “The Supreme Court thinks that government entities should be a model of not discriminating,” Awerkamp said, adding, “I think that people are staying healthier longer and therefore want to work longer. “Many times people have prejudices against the abilities of people [that] just be- cause they … happen to be older they’re not going to be as sharp and capable and all those kinds of things, and therefore they chose the younger person,” Awerkamp continued. “Quite frankly I’m 77 years old and I think I do much better now than I did 10 or 20 years ago.”


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