Chicago, IL asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Illinois

Q: Have my employment rights been violated?

I was unofficially fired, now being forced to beg supervisor to keep my job. Fired for leaving during my shift. I left because I was suffering from injuries obtained that same morning from a DV attack at home. I was only recently informed of VESSA. I do not believe my employer has any posting for it onsite, though I could be wrong. I was unable to report my situation until the following day, after being fired, plus provide the documentation. I informed my boss and supervisor that it was a DV attack that I endured and left me with no option but to leave. I was not aware that I could request leave, especially after the absence. I was also never informed that this was a right of mine. It was never suggested that I take time off. The injuries were immediately visible and clear to anyone who looked at me. What should I do in this situation?

1 Lawyer Answer
Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Naperville, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Based on the details provided, it appears that your employment rights may have been violated under the Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA). VESSA provides certain rights to employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence, or who have family or household members who are victims of such violence.

Under VESSA, eligible employees are entitled to unpaid leave to address issues arising from domestic or sexual violence, including seeking medical attention, obtaining services from a victim services organization, participating in safety planning, seeking legal assistance, and other related activities. Employers are also required to make reasonable accommodations for employees who are victims of domestic violence, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business.

Here are some steps you may consider taking:

1. **Documentation**: Gather any documentation you have regarding the domestic violence incident, your injuries, and any communication with your employer about the incident and your need to leave work.

2. **Review Employer's Policy**: Check your employer's policies and any employee handbooks to see if there are specific procedures for reporting domestic violence incidents and requesting leave under VESSA.

3. **VESSA Rights**: If you believe your employer has not complied with VESSA, you may want to inform them of your rights under the Act. Employers are required to inform employees of their rights under VESSA, and if they have not, they may be in violation of the law.

4. **Legal Assistance**: Consider seeking legal advice from an attorney who specializes in employment law and has experience with VESSA claims. An attorney can help you understand your rights and may assist you in communicating with your employer or pursuing a claim.

5. **Illinois Department of Labor**: You may also contact the Illinois Department of Labor, which enforces VESSA, for guidance and assistance.

6. **File a Complaint**: If necessary, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor or pursue legal action against your employer for violations of VESSA.

7. **Record Keeping**: Keep a record of all interactions with your employer regarding this matter, including dates, times, and the content of conversations or written communications.

It is important to act promptly, as there may be time limits for asserting your rights under VESSA or other employment laws. Additionally, if you are a member of a union, you may want to contact your union representative for assistance.

Remember, the information provided here is general in nature and should not be considered legal advice. It is important to consult with an attorney who can provide advice based on the specific facts of your case.

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