EEOC Sues College in Chicago for Age Discrimination

August 5, 2014 ( – A Chicago college refused to hire an adjunct professor for a full-time position because of her age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges.

Harold Washington College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago system, violated federal law when it denied Nancy Sullivan the full-time position because she was 66 years old, according to an EEOC lawsuit. The case, EEOC v. City Colleges of Chicago d/b/a Harold Washington College (civil action no. 1:14-cv-05864), was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

An EEOC investigation found Sullivan had worked as an adjunct professor in the English Department at Harold Washington College for five years before applying for a full-time faculty position. Sullivan was found to have appropriate credentials for the job, had compiled an excellent record during her tenure as an adjunct, and had recommendations from several full-time members of the faculty. However, the investigation concluded that the college passed over Sullivan due to her age, since the person hired for the position was younger and less experienced.

This alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discriminating against employees and applicants age 40 and older.

Harold Washington College, named for the first African American mayor of Chicago, is one of seven campuses of the City Colleges. The college has an enrollment of nearly 14,000 students and focuses on business, entrepreneurship and professional services.