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Age discrimination

what is AGE discrimination?


A variety of laws - local, state and federal - protect a person from national origin discrimination in the workplace.

At the federal level the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects individuals who are disabled or perceived as disabled from discrimination.

As summarized by the EEOC, the ADEA is inteded to protect individuals in the following manner:


  • The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. ADEA protections include:

    • Apprenticeship Programs

      It is generally unlawful for apprenticeship programs, including joint labor-management apprenticeship programs, to discriminate on the basis of an individual’s age. Age limitations in apprenticeship programs are valid only if they fall within certain specific exceptions under the ADEA or if the EEOC grants a specific exemption.

    • Job Notices and Advertisements

      The ADEA generally makes it unlawful to include age preferences, limitations, or specifications in job notices or advertisements. A job notice or advertisement may specify an age limit only in the rare circumstances where age is shown to be a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ) reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business.

    • Pre-Employment Inquiries

      The ADEA does not specifically prohibit an employer from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, because such inquiries may deter older workers from applying for employment or may otherwise indicate possible intent to discriminate based on age, requests for age information will be closely scrutinized to make sure that the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose, rather than for a purpose prohibited by the ADEA.

    • Benefits

      The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) amended the ADEA to specifically prohibit employers from denying benefits to older employees. Congress recognized that the cost of providing certain benefits to older workers is greater than the cost of providing those same benefits to younger workers, and that those greater costs would create a disincentive to hire older workers. Therefore, in limited circumstances, an employer may be permitted to reduce benefits based on age, as long as the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing benefits to younger workers.

      Employers are permitted to coordinate retiree health benefit plans with eligibility for Medicare or a comparable state-sponsored health benefit.

    It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADEA.


where to file

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission handles claims on the federal level. They enforce federal anti-discrimination laws including laws against sexual harassment. The claim must be filed within 300 days of the occurence.

The EEOC can be contacted at:

U.S. Equal Employment Oppor. Comm'n Chicago District Office

500 W. Madison,
Suite 2800
Chicago, IL 60611-2511
(312) 353-2713; 2714
(312) 353-2421 (TDD)
(312) 353-7355 (Fax)

The State of Illinois uses both the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Illinois Human Rights Commission to handle claims under the Illnois Human Rights Act. Claims must be filed within 180 days of the occurence.

A charge is filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and an agent is assigned to investigate the claim. If the claim is found to have merit a charge is filed with the Illinois Human Rights Commission. An individual has a right to file a charge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission even if the IDHR does not find their claim to have merit.

The Human Rights Commission assigns an administrative judge to the case and a public hearing is held to determine the merits of the claim.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights can be contacted at:

Illinois Department of Human Rights
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph
Suite 10-100
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-6200
(312) 263-1579 (TDD)
(312) 814-1541 (Fax)

If you live in Cook County you can file a charge with the Cook County Commission on Human Rights. The Commission on Human Rights is charged with applying the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance.

The Commission on Human Rights can be contacted at:

Cook County Commission on Human Rights
69 W. Washington St.
Suite 2900
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-1100
(312) 603-1101 (TDD)
(312) 603-9988 (FAX)

The city of Chicago Commission on Human Relations hears complaints filed by plaintiffs and can award monetary damages to the successful plaintiff.

Filing a charge with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations is free and no lawyer is required to pursue a case. Though it is generally advisable to hire a lawyer to represent you as the defendant usually will and the legal arguments will be more familiar to a lawyer.

The Commission on Human Relations can be contacted at:

Chicago Commission on Human Relations
740 N. Sedgwick,
Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 744-4111
(312) 744-1088 (TDD)
(312) 744-1081 (FAX)



Free consultation
Discrimination cases are complicated and timelines for filing may be short. Do not hesistate to contact our office if you think you have been a victim of harassment.
Justin G. Randolph
Randolph & Holloway | Free Consult
53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1234
Chicago IL 60604 United States of America
1 (312) 663-1560
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