City Colleges of Chicago Settles Age Bias Suit

An EEOC lawsuit charges that a college passed up a 66-year-old adjunct professor for a full-time faculty position in favor of two younger, less-experienced candidates.

City Colleges of Chicago will pay $60,000 to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC).

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Harold Washington College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago system, refused to hire Nancy Sullivan, an adjunct professor, for a full-time faculty position because of her age (66). Sullivan had worked as an adjunct professor in the English department for five years before applying for the full-time faculty position.

Despite her stellar record as an adjunct and excellent recommendations from several full-time faculty members, Sullivan was passed over in favor of two substantially younger and less experienced candidates, the EEOC said.

The EEOC filed suit against City Colleges on July 31, 2014, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC v. City Colleges of Chicago d/b/a Harold Washington College, Civil Action No. 14-cv-05864, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and the judge entered the consent decree resolving the litigation.

EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that this is not the first time the EEOC has sued City Colleges for age discrimination. In 2006, the EEOC sued City Colleges challenging an employment decision similar to the employment decision in the present case. The earlier case was also settled by consent decree. Gochanour said, “It is the EEOC’s hope that this time around, City Colleges will be vigilant and will not let discrimination infect its employment decisions going forward.”

In addition to providing for the $60,000 in monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit mandates that City Colleges train its employees about age discrimination and report to the EEOC any complaints of age discrimination it receives.