As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Court attendance. Employers may not discipline or discharge employees for absences resulting from jury service or a summons to appear as a witness in a criminal case (705 ILCS 305/4.1 and 725 ILCS 5/115-18).
Criminal history. Employers may not use an expunged, sealed, or impounded arrest or criminal history record as the basis to discipline or discharge an employee, unless otherwise required by federal or state law (775 ILCS 5/2-103).
Domestic or sexual violence. Employers with 15 or more employees may not discharge employees for exercising their right to take leave because of domestic or sexual violence (820 ILCS 180/20).
An employer may not discharge an employee because the employee involved:
• Is or is perceived to be a victim of domestic or sexual violence;
• Attended, participated in, prepared for, or requested leave to attend, participate in, or prepare for a court proceeding relating to an incident of domestic or sexual violence; or
• Requested leave or an adjustment to job structure, workplace facility, schedule, telephone number, installation of a lock in response to actual or threatened domestic or sexual violence, regardless of whether the request was granted (