The Size of the Employer Matters

In order to bring an employment lawsuit, sometimes the employer must have a minimum number of employees to bring a claim. For example, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the law that prohibits age discrimination and retaliation, the employer generally must have twenty or more employees. 29 U.S.C. § 630(b).

The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case to decide if employers with fewer than twenty employees can be considered “employers” if they are a state or political subdivision of a state. It is unclear if the political entity must also have twenty or more employees. The Seventh Circuit, which includes Illinois, found the state or political subdivision of a state must also have twenty or more employees. Kelly v. Wauconda Park Dist., 801 F.2d 269, 270 (7th Cir. 1986).

Many other laws require a company to have a minimum amount of employees to bring an employment lawsuit, such as wrongful termination. To bring a claim for most forms of discrimination (other than age) under federal and Illinois law, the employer must have at least fifteen employees. However, under claims for disability discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual harassment under Illinois law, there is no minimum amount of employees. To bring a claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the employer must have fifty or more employees.

If you think you have a legal claim against your employer, contact an experienced employment attorney to learn if you may have a case. The right attorney should know which laws apply to your specific case.