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The Victim's Economic Security and Safety Act

In August 2003 a new law designed to offer employment protection to victims of domestic and sexual violence went into effect. “VESSA”, (the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act) provides that a covered employer must let you take time off from work for up to 12 weeks without fear of losing your job.

How Does VESSA Help?

It requires your employer to let you take time off to deal with problems you are having because of domestic or sexual violence. During a 12 month period, you may take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid-job guaranteed time off. VESSA also prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against you. For example, your employer is not allowed to fire you because you took time off work to get a protective order or because your harasser calls you at work. VESSA does not protect you from job performance problems not related to domestic or sexual violence, such as being late, taking personal phone calls unrelated to the violence, not doing your job properly.

What Employers are Covered by VESSA?

Any private employer with at least 50 employees in the state of Illinois, or any state or local government agency.

What Does Being a Victim of Domestic Violence Include?
  • Physical violence such as shaking, kicking, slapping or restraining;
  • Verbal violence such as name calling or yelling;
  • Harassment at work, school or home;
  • Threats to hurt you or your children
What Does Being a Victim of Sexual Violence Include?
  • Rape;
  • Sexual Assault;
  • Forced sex;
  • Child sexual abuse;
  • Uncomfortable or unwanted touching;
  • Stalking
Can I Take VESSA for any Reason?

No. You may take time off only to deal with the domestic or sexual violence you experienced. For example:

  • Seeing a doctor or counselor for physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence;
  • Getting help from a domestic violence shelter or rape-crisis organization;
  • Seeing a lawyer or going to court;
  • Securing your future safety by looking for a new place to live or relocating temporarily.

For further information, please contact one of the experienced lawyers available to serve your legal needs.