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Age Discrimination: What Are Your Rights?

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With many employers looking for fresh young talent, age discrimination is on the rise. Age discrimination occurs when an employee faces unfavorable treatment based on age. Those age 40 and older are protected by law.

Age discrimination laws affect all aspects of employment, including hiring, layoffs, firing, training, pay, benefits and promotions. If you feel your employer is discriminating against you because of your age, read on to learn about your options.

What Constitutes Harassment? 

Age is not a quality about ourselves that we can change. As such, workers should not have to face harassment in the workplace based on their age. Harassment can come from co-workers, supervisors and even clients. The law may not cover isolated incidents that tease someone about their age. However, if the teasing becomes a regular occurrence which makes the employee afraid or reluctant to even come to work, then the victim is likely facing a hostile environment based on age discrimination.

Employers do have the right to reprimand or discipline older workers for behavioral or performance issues. Such actions, by themselves, do not constitute harassment or age discrimination as long as age is not a factor, and younger employees are disciplined for the same performance issues.

Filing a Claim

If you are facing age discrimination, act quickly. You have 180 days to contact the Illinois Department of Human Rights and 300 days to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a charge. It is advisable to retain an employment attorney to file these charges, though it is not required. The employer will be notified of the charge and the EEOC will investigate. If there is sufficient evidence to prove the charge, the employer will be asked to remedy the situation. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the EEOC may take legal action, but it is more likely the EEOC will issue a Right to Sue letter which allows the employee to file suit in court.

Once the EEOC is done investigating your case, you receive a letter stating that you have the right to sue your employer regardless of whether the EEOC believes your claim is supported or not. You will have 90 days to file a lawsuit from that point, so act quickly. Find an employment lawyer who can help you understand your options.

Contact an Illinois Employment Law Firm Today

It’s a proven fact: we all get older. Being turned down for a job or getting fired solely based on one’s age is unfair on many levels. Employers should realize the benefits that come with age, such as more experience and knowledge.

It can be difficult to know what facts and evidence are relevant to prove an age claim, or to know if you have a realistic chance of proving you were fired or not hired based on your age. You’ll need legal representation to uncover the required evidence. Contact Goldman & Ehrlich as soon as possible for help. Call us at (312) 332-6733 or complete our online contact form.