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How can we help an employee who is receiving harassing phone calls?

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in Employee Benefits Program,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. We have an employee who comes to work and performs very well. Over the past several months I have come to learn that she is constantly receiving harassing calls and threats from her husband. We feel helpless and want to do something but we don’t offer employee assistance programs. What are our options?

A. Your employee may have rights under the state Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), which provides job-protected leaves of absence, as well as other protection and benefits, for employees who are domestic violence victims. (The law also protects victims’ families and household members, as long as their interests are not adverse to those of the employee.)

Under VESSA, eligible employees and family and household members are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave during a 12-month period so they can: (1) seek medical attention for or recover from physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic violence, (2) obtain services from a victim’s services organization, (3) obtain psychological or other counseling, (4) participate in safety planning, temporary or permanent relocation, or take other actions to increase their physical safety or economic security or (5) seek legal assistance or remedies to ensure their health and safety. Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule.

VESSA, applicable to employers with 50 or more employees, does not provide additional time if the leave is also covered by the FMLA. You can find posting requirements at www.state.il.us/agency/idol/forms/PDFS/Vessanotice.pdf.

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