Heyl Royster

 


Heyl Royster

 

Statute In The Spotlight

3/25/13

In each issue, Heyl Royster attorneys will summarize a statute that imposes requirements on an employer with respect to its employees. These summaries can be printed and compiled in a notebook for easy access and quick answers to your questions.

The Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act - 820 ILCS 180/1 et seq.

Who: Employee employed by an employer and includes a participant in a work assignment as a condition of receipt of federal or State income – based assistance.

Employer that is a State or agency of the State; any unit of local government or school district; or any person that employs at least 15 employees.

What: Employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence or has a family or household member who is such victim may take unpaid leave from work to address domestic or sexual violence by: (a) seeking medical attention; (b) obtaining services from a victim services organization; (c) obtaining counseling; (d) participating in safety planning, relocation, or taking other actions to increase safety; (e) seeking legal assistance or remedies to ensure health and safety.

How: Employee must provide at least 48 hours' advance notice of intention to take leave, unless providing such advance notice is not practicable. When an unscheduled absence occurs, the employer may not take any action against the employee if the employee, on request, provides certification within a reasonable time.

All information provided to the employer must be retained in the strictest confidence.

Limits: An employee working for an employer that employs at least 50 employees is entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period. An employee working for an employer that employs between 15 and 49 employees is entitled to a total of 8 workweeks of leave during any 12 months period. The Act does not create a right for an employee to take unpaid leave that exceeds the unpaid leave allowed under FMLA.

Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule. The employer may not require the employee to substitute available paid or unpaid leave for leave provided under the Act.     

Notice Requirements: Every covered employer must post in conspicuous places on the premises of the employer where notices to employees are customarily posted, a notice, prepared or approved by the Director of Labor, summarizing the requirements of the Act. The Director must furnish copies of summaries and rules to employers upon request without charge. An employer that fails to post the required notice cannot claim the employee failed to provide notice that he or she wanted or was eligible for leave under the Act.

Prohibited Acts: An employer cannot interfere with an employee's rights under the Act.

An employer cannot discharge or discriminate against an individual because he or she has filed a charge or participated in a proceeding related to rights under the Act.

An employer cannot discharge, harass, or discriminate against an employee that exercised rights under the Act or opposed any practice made unlawful by the Act.

An employer cannot refuse or fail to hire, discharge, harass, or discriminate against an individual and a public agency cannot discriminate against any individual with respect to the amounts, terms or conditions of public assistance of the individual because (1) he or she (a) is perceived to be a victim of domestic or sexual violence; (b) attended, participated in, prepared for, or requested leave to attend, participate in, or prepare for a criminal or civil court proceeding relating to an incident of domestic or sexual violence; or (c) requested an accommodation, or (2) the workplace is disrupted or threatened by the action of a person whom the individual states has committed or threatened to commit domestic or sexual violence.

Discrimination includes not making a reasonable accommodation for an otherwise qualified individual that is a victim or has a family member that is a victim unless the employer or public agency can demonstrate the accommodation would impose an undue hardship.