Chicago Age Discrimination Attorney
Age Discrimination in General
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) may sound like it prohibits age discrimination, but it is far more limited than that. For example, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of gender against both men and women and everyone is covered. This is not the case with the ADEA. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is limited to discrimination against people over the age of 40.
The typical age discrimination case involves a complaint that someone over 40 was treated differently by his or her employer than someone younger, even if the younger person is also over 40. Like other forms of discrimination this can be a wrongful termination, failure to hire or promote, or some other adverse act.
Although the Age Discrimination in Employment Act draws a line at the age of 40, simply being over 40 which creates a claim for age discrimination.
Older Worker’s Benefit Protection Act
Employers may, and often do, terminate employees over 40, but protect themselves by giving the employee severance package in exchange for the employee signing away their rights under the ADEA. Still, if the severance package is adequate it may be a good deal for the employee. But before you sign any employment contract you really need to give it a great deal of thought—“is this deal good enough, is it the best I could negotiate, do I regret not consulting an employment attorney before signing?”
This is where Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) comes into play to give even greater protection to employees covered under the ADEA. The OWBPA requires that individuals over the age of 40 be given 21 days to consider any agreement waiving their rights under the ADEA and have an additional seven days after signing it to change their mind and revoke their signature. The OWBPA therefore has a significant impact on severance agreements. While you should never sign a severance agreement without consulting an employment attorney, if you have done so, but believe you have been subjected to age discrimination, it may not be too late. You may still preserve a claim if you revoke your agreement within the seven daytime period. The severance agreement must be read carefully to determine how the revocation must be made. Age discrimination claims can be complex and often hard to recognize. Severance agreements under any circumstances, and particularly those giving up ADEA claims, should be carefully negotiated to make sure you get the best deal possible. You need a Chicago age discrimination lawyer to carefully review your situation. Call us at Maduff & Maduff for help.