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Can an Employer Fire Me Because of My Age?

April 21, 2022

As per the Illinois Department of Labor, Illinois is an ‘at-will' state. This means that employers can fire workers for any reason at any time, as long as their reason isn’t discriminatory. Since we cannot stop time, your employer cannot legally fire you because of your age, even if they think it is justified. So yes, age discrimination is illegal in the state.

If you believe you were fired because you were getting older, you should hire a lawyer right away. They will evaluate your claim and recommend the best legal strategy moving forward.

What Is Age Discrimination?

If you are over 40 years old and think a decision about your employment harmed you because of your age, you have grounds for an age discrimination claim. Some of the factors that prove you are being discriminated against because of your age include the following:

  • You get a negative job evaluation because your employer thinks you were not flexible or spry enough to take on new projects.

  • You weren't hired because the employer prefers younger workers over older ones.

  • You were fired because your employer wanted to hire younger and cheaper labor.

  • Most of the company layoffs were older, and younger workers were not laid off even if they did not have as much experience as their senior counterparts.

  • Your boss made age-related remarks about you before firing you (such as calling you 'ancient' or 'old man').

If any of these things happened to you, you were discriminated against because of your age and can sue your employer if you want to.

What Is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)?

Irrespective of the reason behind your age-based termination, you are protected under the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA). The law protects employees who are 40 years old or older against employment discrimination. The Act was amended later by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act Of 1990 (OWBPA) to specifically target employers who denied older employees the work benefits they deserved.

Besides age, workers are also protected against sex, race, religion, and disability discrimination in the workplace. Women are more likely to be discriminated against for all of these factors than men.

Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates

Some things are out of our hands. Time is one of them. So if your boss is keeping you from a promotion, threatening to fire you, or misbehaving with you because you are older than other employees, you can and should take a stand. With the Chicago employment law attorneys at the Law Office of Michael T. Smith and Associates in your corner, you can get the compensation you deserve. We are not afraid of going up against aggressive opponents if it means our clients can benefit from our representation. Call us today to book a consultation, whether you consult with your union or not. We will develop a strategy that can protect your best interests and ensure your employer thinks twice before discriminating against future employees or your colleagues.