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Legislative Update: VESSA: Working for Victims of Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Children's Legal Rights Journal Volume: 23 Issue: 4 Dated: Winter 2003-2004 Pages: 90-91
Michael Diaz
Date Published
2 pages
This article explains how victims of domestic violence are helped under Illinois' Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA).
Under VESSA, employers who have 50 or more employees must comply with its provisions, which require such employers to provide victims of domestic violence with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period. Under VESSA, domestic violence is construed broadly to include domestic and same-sex partners. Section 30 of VESSA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or potential employees who are known to be victims of domestic violence, while also prohibiting retaliation against any employee who requests leave under the Act. Additionally, VESSA requires employers to provide each employee with reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the position while the employee makes the transition from a state of duress to one of tranquility. This may include a modified work schedule for an employee who must attend court proceedings or the transfer of an employee to another work site in order to decrease the possibility of unwelcome visits by the perpetrator. An employee's request for a VESSA leave does not require a 48-hour notice by the employee to the employer, so long as the victim is able to provide documentation that supports the conditions for a VESSA leave. Employers should also benefit from compliance with VESSA provisions, since it encourages the creation of safe employment conditions for employees who are under the threat of domestic violence. This will, in turn, decrease medical costs for employees and increase their productivity.


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