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Legal Information: Illinois

Workplace Protections

Updated: 
July 10, 2020

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

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, or gender violence issues or because you are a victim.1

Also, the law requires your employer to keep your domestic, sexual, or gender 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, sexual, or gender violence. Your employer also cannot 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, sexual, or gender violence situation.2

1 820 ILCS § 180/30
2 820 ILCS § 180/20(d)

I got fired from my job after taking time off for domestic, sexual, or gender 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, sexual, or gender 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, sexual, or gender violence issues.1 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, sexual, or gender violence situation. For example, if you took off from work to deal with domestic, sexual, or gender violence issues and six months later, your company fired 200 workers based on budget cuts, you can 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, sexual, or gender violence issues, then you might want to contact an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination or contact the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

1 820 ILCS § 180/30