ILLINOIS VICTIMS' ECONOMIC SAFETY AND SECURITY ACT
On August 25, Public Act 93-0591 the Victims' Economic Safety and Security Act was enacted and went into effect upon becoming law. As we told you on June 10, 2003, highlights are:
Entitlement to Leave for Addressing Domestic or Sexual Violence- Illinois VESSA permits eligible employees to take unpaid leave from employment to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking (for medical attention, victim services, counseling, safety planning, or legal assistance or other specified purposes). It allows employers to require certification of the need for such leave. Eligible employees are those who work for an employer with 50 or more employees and who are victims of domestic or sexual violence or are employees who have a family or household member (e.g., spouse, parent, child, and persons jointly residing in the same household) who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence. Employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. This 12-week leave is not in addition to the unpaid leave permitted by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule. Employees may use paid leave such as vacation time in lieu of unpaid leave.
Victims' Employment Sustainability- VESSA prohibits employer discrimination regarding conditions or privileges of employment (e.g., income, hiring, termination, promotion, harassment, retaliation) predicated upon an employee's status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Enforcement- The Illinois Department of Labor will administer and enforce VESSA's provisions. A complaint must be filed within three years after the alleged violation occurred. An employee may recover damages (e.g., lost wages, employment benefits), attorney fees, and other relief such as reinstatement and promotion.