Know the Laws: Illinois
UPDATED October 23, 2012
Illinois state law provides employment protections for domestic violence victims who need to take time off from work to handle issues related to domestic violence.
Yes. Under Illinois State law, an employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence or has a family/ household member who is a victim may take unpaid leave from work to address domestic or sexual violence. You can take a total of 12 work-weeks of leave during any 12-month period. (However, if you have already taken 12 weeks off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, this law does not permit you to take additional time.) The 12 weeks can be taken intermittently (at different times) or on a reduced work schedule.*
You can also use existing paid leave (including family, medical, sick, annual, personal, or similar leave) instead of taking the unpaid leave.**
*820 ILCS § 180/20(a)
**820 ILCS § 180/25
A “family or household member” can be a a spouse, parent, son, daughter, other person related by blood or by present or prior marriage, other person who shares a relationship through a son or daughter, and persons jointly residing in the same household.*
* 820 ILCS §180/10 (12)
Your employer must let you take time off from work to do the any of the following things, if they are related to domestic violence for you or a family/ household member:
You may have the right to ask for “reasonable” changes at work that will keep you safe from domestic violence. For example, you can request a transfer, reassignment, or modified schedule, a changed telephone number or seating assignment, a lock, or other safety procedures, in response to domestic violence, or threats of domestic violence.*
Your employer can deny your request for accommodations (changes) at work if your employer can show that the changes you are seeking are too hard for them to do. For example, if it would be too expensive, would cause other problems at work, or would not allow for work to get done in your department, then they can deny your request as being an “undue hardship.”**
You might want to consult with your local branch of the Illinois Human Rights Commission if you have any questions about your employer saying "no" to your request for accommodations at work.
Note: Although Illinois law does not require that you make the request for an accommodation in writing, it might be a good idea to do so. This way, you can be clear to your employer about what types of changes you need, and you have proof that you asked for the changes if your employer denies your request and you choose to pursue legal action against the employer. You might want to include copies of court records, police reports, or the same type of information that you would show to your employer if you were requesting time off from work for domestic violence issues.
*820 ILCS §180/30(a)(1)(C)
**820 ILCS §180/30(b)(4)