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Know the Laws: Illinois

UPDATED September 19, 2017

Workplace Protections

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Illinois state law provides employment protections for domestic or sexual violence victims who need to take time off from work to handle issues related to domestic or sexual violence.

What your employer can and cannot do

back to topIs it legal for my employer to harass me or tell my co-workers if I take time off to deal with domestic or sexual violence?

No.  Your employer cannot fire you, harass you, or punish you in any way just because you ask for and/or take this time off to deal with domestic/sexual violence issues or because you are a victim.*

Also, the law requires your employer to keep your domestic violence or sexual violence situation private (confidential).  For example, your employer cannot tell your co-workers, your clients, or other employers that you took time off to deal with domestic violence or sexual assault.  Your employer also cannot disclose (talk about or write about) the reason for your time off.  They must also keep private any documents that you give them that relate to your domestic violence or sexual assault situation.**

* 820 ILCS § 180/30
** 820 ILCS § 180/20(d)

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back to topI got fired from my job after taking time off for domestic violence. Is that legal?

The law says that your employer cannot fire you or punish you because you took off time from work to address your domestic violence issues.  They also cannot fire you or punish you because you asked for or were given “accommodations” (changes) at work to help you with your domestic or sexual violence issues.*  However, your employer can still fire you or punish you for other valid reasons (such as budget cuts, not doing your job well, or reasons that have nothing to do with your domestic or sexual violence situation).  For example, if you took off from work to deal with domestic violence issues and six months later, your company fired 200 workers based on budget cuts, it doesn't mean that you cannot be fired too.

Note: Sometimes, an employer will offer a fake reason for firing someone, to hide the real reason.  If you have facts or evidence that: (1) your employer is not being truthful about why they fired you; and (2) that the real reason they fired you was because you took off time for domestic or sexual violence related issues, then you might want to contact an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination or the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

* 820 ILCS § 180/30

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