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Mandatory Retirement Age for Police and Firefighters

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Reviewed Date: May 23, 2017

Original Author: 
Huffer, Dennis
Date of Material: 
Jan 3, 2002


Mandatory Retirement Age for Police and Firefighters

MTAS was asked what the mandatory retirement age is for police and firefighters.

January 3, 2002

Re: Mandatory Retirement Age for Police and Firefighters

Dear Sir:

The pertinent provisions of 29 U.S.C. § 623 read as follows when all the irrelevant matter is left out:

(j)Employment as firefighter or law enforcement officer

It shall not be unlawful for an employer which is a State, a political subdivision of a State, an agency or instrumentality of a State ... or an interstate agency to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual because of such individual’s age if such action is taken--

(1) with respect to the employment of an individual as a firefighter or as a law enforcement officer...

(ii)if applicable State or local law was enacted after September 30, 1996, and the individual was discharged, the higher of--

(I) the age of retirement in effect on the date of such discharge under such law; and

(II) age 55; and

(2) pursuant to a bona fide hiring or retirement plan that is not a subterfuge to evade the purposes of this chapter.

I am enclosing a copy of an Attorney General’s opinion stating that the mandatory retirement provisions relative to police officers and firefighters do not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act as long as the retirement plan complies with this section. This opinion also states that the mandatory retirement of these employees does not violate equal protection guarantees. I am also enclosing a copy of the state Act that enacted the mandatory retirement authorization for local governments in the TCRS.

I look forward to seeing you at our meeting on Feburary 15 at the Cool Springs Marriott. As I indicated by fax, the registration materials have not yet been prepared. You should be receiving them, however, within the next three (3) weeks. In the meantime, if I may be of further assistance, please call.


Dennis Huffer
Legal Consultant

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