Moreover, age discrimination violates Illinois state law. The Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”), 775 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-10, is generally administered by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”). The IHRA applies to all individuals, and in part makes it unlawful for an employer to subject an employee to an averse employment action on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental handicap, military status, or sexual orientation. Examples of adverse employment actions include constructive discharge, termination, refusal to hire, demotion, discrimination or harassment, and exposure to a hostile work environment. The IHRA moreover contains a provision making it unlawful to retaliate against employees who oppose discriminatory behavior or participate in any sort of proceeding relating to a complaint of discrimination.
In order to bring a civil claim under the IHRA, an injured employee must first exhaust the administrative remedies by filing a charge with the IDHR. From the date of the adverse action, employees have 180 days to file at the IDHR. Once the IDHR has progressed through investigation, and issued a finding, the employee may file a lawsuit in state court or proceed to the Human Rights Commission.
A successful plaintiff in a civil suit may be entitled to back pay, attorneys’ fees, injunctive relief, front pay, and liquidated damages for willful violations. Neither compensatory nor punitive damages are available under the ADEA.