• Workplace Violence Protection Act Expands Remedies
  • June 4, 2014
  • Law Firm: Heyl Royster Voelker Allen Professional Corporation - Peoria Office
  • Employers with five or more employees will be permitted to take proactive steps to protect employees from workplace violence, harassment, and stalking. They will be able to apply for an order of protection against disgruntled workers who have made a documented threat against the business or another employee. Employers are required to provide an affidavit that there is a credible threat of violence against the workplace or an employee to apply for an order of protection.

    Illinois enacted the Workplace Violence Protection Act (House Bill 2590) to help employers protect their workforce, customers, guests and property by limiting access to workplaces by potentially violent individuals. 820 ILCS 275/15 (West 2013). Under the act, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2014, employers may seek a protective order to prohibit further violence or threats of violence in the workplace. The law applies to both public and private employers—including partnerships, corporations, state agencies, or political subdivisions—that have at least five employees.

    Under the law, an employer may seek an order of protection from the local court to prohibit further violence or threats of violence by an individual if: 1) the employee has suffered unlawful violence or received a credible threat of violence from the individual and 2) the unlawful violence has been carried out at the employee's place of work or the credible threat of violence can reasonably be construed to be carried out at the employee's place of work. In addition, an employer may obtain an order of protection under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act by filing an affidavit that shows, to the satisfaction of the court, reasonable proof that an employee has suffered either unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence by the defendant. This affidavit must also demonstrate that great or irreparable harm has been suffered, will be suffered, or is likely to be suffered by the employee.

    The law defines a credible threat of violence as a statement or course of conduct that does not serve a legitimate purpose and causes a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or for the safety of the person's immediate family. It defines an unlawful act of violence as any act of violence, harassment, or stalking as defined by state law. Employer remedies under the act are limited to an order of protection.