Through my years as an employment law attorney, I have represented a number of employees whose jobs are suddenly eliminated or re-classified as the employee reaches middle and late middle age. The loss of a job is always traumatic, but particularly so when one’s job prospects are limited based upon one’s age and a stagnant economy. Moreover, the loss of health care benefits become particularly critical for middle aged employees, since Medicare generally does not begin until age 65 but health issues frequently surface as we reach middle age. Privacy and confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements prohibit me from identifying cases, named parties, and the existence and terms of settlement agreements. However, if you are a victim of age discrimination, I will take all necessary steps to protect your rights, which also includes addressing the loss of health insurance benefits.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) and various local ordinances prohibit employment discrimination against an employee or job applicant based upon age, if the employee or job applicant is 40 years of age or older. Under these laws, it is illegal for an employer to make employment decisions regarding hiring, promotion, demotion, termination, compensation, job training or other terms and conditions of employment based upon your age, if you are 40 years of age or older.
The same laws that protect you against age discrimination also protect you from retaliation for complaining about age discrimination or participating in an investigation of age discrimination. As an employee, you have a legal right to complain about age discrimination in the workplace. If you exercise your legal right to complain, it is illegal for your employer to “retaliate” against you by firing you, harassing you, stripping you of your job responsibilities, refusing to give you deserved raises, issuing unwarranted discipline, etc.
The ADEA applies to employers with at least 20 employees and the IHRA with respect to age discrimination applies to employers with at least 15 employees.