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Overview of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

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Overview of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Recent surveys by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that more than 20 percent of workers in the United States are 55 years of age or older and a disturbingly high percentage of those employees have experienced age discrimination. In fact, a survey revealed that approximately 64 percent of older workers confirmed that they experienced age discrimination in the workplace. In 2014, approximately 21,396 age discrimination claims were filed with federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to AARP.

Due to the prevalence of age discrimination, Congress enacted the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in 1967. Under the ADEA, an employer may not discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on their age when the employee or applicant is 40 years of age or older. This means age cannot be a factor when considering promotions, bonuses, hiring, or termination.

Employers Covered by the ADEA

Only specific employers are required to adhere to the regulations set forth under the ADEA. For example, the employer must have at least 20 employees that engage in interstate commerce and who have worked for the company for at least 20 months. Other employers who must comply with the ADEA include federal and state agencies.  State laws, however, also apply to employers who employ at least 15 employees.

Keep in mind, employers may discipline or terminate an employee who has performance issues.  You cannot excuse your performance due to your age.  Nevertheless, the employer may cloak the discrimination on alleged performance issues that are unfounded or which are tolerated when it is a younger employee who has a similar performance issue.

Another example is when a company requires employees to lift heavy materials such as boxes (e.g. Amazon, FedEx, etc.). In this situation, an employer may discriminate against an older job applicant or employee if they are physically incapable of completing the assigned job duties.

Also, if you are under the age of 40, you do not have any protection under the ADEA. This means if an employer does not hire you because “you are too young,” you cannot file a claim under the ADEA, according to NBC Chicago.

Speak to a Chicago Age Discrimination Lawyer Today

If you were terminated from your job and you suspect it was due to your age, it is important to schedule a meeting with an attorney to discuss your legal options. The experienced Chicago age discrimination lawyers with Goldman & Ehrlich are here to help.

Employee Who Sued Kane County for Wrongful Termination Secures Large Settlement

A former sheriff’s deputy did not take his termination lying down. He stood up and took action by filing a complaint in the United States District Court of Northern Illinois. The sheriff’s deputy alleged that he was fired due to his political leanings and the concern by his supervisor that he would run against him for the position of Sheriff.

In the complaint, the employee asked that the court issue an injunction and order his reinstatement to his prior position along with all wages and benefits. His claim for damages exceeded $1,000,000 since he was seeking reimbursement of wages dating back to 2008, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Reports indicate that this legal battle was rooted in a contentious relationship between the sheriff’s deputy and Kane County Sheriff. The two individuals disagreed over the sheriff’s deputy working in two public positions simultaneously – as a sheriff’s deputy in Kane County and as police chief in Maple Park.

The Sheriff reportedly reached out to members of the Maple Park Village Board and lobbied for the Board not to maintain its relationship with the sheriff’s deputy/police chief (who obtained permission from his supervisors to hold both positions years ago).

Squashing a Political Opponent

The lawsuit also revealed the fact that the Sheriff’s deputy was seriously contemplating running for Kane County Sheriff. The Sheriff’s deputy retained the services of a campaign manager and was raising money to mount a run. In the complaint, the Sheriff’s deputy alleged that there were an array of “fictitious complaints” made against him. The complaint also alleged that the Kane County Sheriff said that he was going to fire the Sheriff’s deputy because he was going to run against him one day.

Settlement Reached

The Kane County Board agreed to pay the sheriff’s deputy approximately $650,000 in an agreed-upon settlement. The settlement was reached in exchange for the sheriff’s deputy to agree to a release of all known and unknown claims against the county.

Termination for Political Speech or Views

If you work in the private sector, anti-retaliation laws generally do not protect you if you publicly express your political views or affiliations. However, if you work for a state or local government entity, you may be able to file a claim to seek financial restitution and other damages associated with any politically actions taken against you.

Speak to a Chicago Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today

If you suspect you were terminated due to your political views or affiliations, contact Goldman & Ehrlich today. Our law firm represents individuals and businesses in wrongful termination lawsuits.