When You Need Attorneys That Understand Both Sides,
You Turn To Goldman & Ehrlich

Age discrimination in the workplace in Illinois

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | EMPLOYMENT LAW (EMPLOYEE) - Workplace Discrimination

The Chicago Human Rights Ordinance protects employees from discrimination based on different identity attributes, including age. Nonetheless, discrimination against older employees or applicants is not uncommon.

Here is what to know about this protected class:

Age 40 and over

If you are 40 years and above, an employer generally cannot refuse to hire or promote you because of your age. You typically cannot be discharged from employment based on your age either. 

Other aspects of employment where age discrimination can occur include training, job assignments and compensation.

Discrimination against employees of older age can happen even before the first stage of employment, specifically on job postings. It can be unlawful for a job advertisement to use language that may discourage people over age 40 from applying. Examples include phrases such as youthful candidates, fast-paced, cultural fit, recent college graduates, high energy and so on. 

However, an employer or an employment agency may use language that might be considered discriminatory to older applicants if they can show its necessity. For example, using “tech-savvy” when describing a position that requires technical skills.


In some instances, an employer may make a decision based on age and not violate the law. They can make such a decision when they can show that age is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), which means showing the age of the employee or job candidate is necessary for safe and sufficient job performance. 

If you believe an or your employer has discriminated against you because of your age or a company is trying to shape the applicant pool by discouraging older applicants, get more information to know the best way forward.