Evanston Age Discrimination Lawyer

Evanston Age Discrimination Lawyer

To many employers, older workers are more expensive than younger workers. Their healthcare costs are higher, and they miss more work days. But aging is a status, not a choice. Everyone gets older. One bedrock principle in employment law is that people cannot be treated differently because of their status. Increasingly, they cannot be treated differently because of their choices either. Another bedrock legal principle is that people are more than numbers on spreadsheets. They are individuals who have rights and deserve dignified treatment.

At the Law Office of Mitchell Kline, our Evanston age discrimination legal team upholds these same principles. We celebrate diversity instead of stifling it. We also treat all clients with equal dignity and respect from start to finish. That start includes a thorough case evaluation that identifies your legal options. That finish is usually a favorable out-of-court settlement.

Your Legal Rights

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects employees older than 40. Some of these legal protections include:

  • Discrimination in hiring, promotions, wages, and termination of employment and layoffs,
  • Statements of specifications in age preference or limitations,
  • Denial of benefits to older employees (an employer may reduce benefits based on age only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing full benefits to a younger worker, and
  • Mandatory retirement in most sectors, with phased elimination of mandatory retirement for tenured workers, such as college professors, in 1993.

These protections apply to older workers in companies with more than 20 employees. In contrast, most other anti-discrimination laws apply to companies with 15 or more employees.

That is not the only difference. For example, in 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that age discrimination must be the but-for cause, as opposed to the substantial cause, of adverse action. In 2020, the Justices watered down this harsh rule, but only for federal government employees.

Additionally, employers may assert several defenses in ADEA claims, many of which are unavailable in other discrimination claims, including:

  • Knowing or voluntary ADEA waivers,
  • Valid arbitration agreements between employers and employees,
  • “Good cause” discharge, regardless of the worker’s age,
  • Bona fide occupational qualifications, seniority systems, employee benefit or early retirement plans, and
  • Voluntary early retirement incentives.

Since these cases are hard to prove and so many defenses are available, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawyers rarely take up these matters.

Damages Available

If the EEOC refuses to protect an age discrimination victim, an Evanston age discrimination lawyer can obtain compensatory damages. These damages usually include reinstatement along with back pay. If reinstatement is not practical, the plaintiff may obtain back wages and a reasonable amount of front pay (future lost wages). Other compensatory damages could include moving expenses, job search costs, and compensation for emotional distress.

Punitive damages are unavailable in these matters. However, if the employer’s conduct was intentional, the plaintiff is entitled to liquidated damages of double the front pay/back pay compensation.

Count On a Hard-Hitting Cook County Attorney

Job bias victims have legal options in Illinois. For a free consultation with an experienced Evanston age discrimination attorney, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.