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August 27, 2018

MADIGAN: NEW LAW WILL STRENGTHEN EMPLOYMENT PROTECTIONS FOR SERVICE MEMBERS

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced a new law that clarifies and strengthens existing laws to ensure that Illinois service members' employment and rights are protected while they are fulfilling military requirements.

Madigan initiated Senate Bill 3547, the Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA), to strengthen and simplify current state laws designed to provide employment protections to service members. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, and Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, passed the Illinois Senate and House unanimously and was signed into law Sunday. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

SB 3547 simplifies existing Illinois law by consolidating all of the provisions, including employment protections for Illinois service members. In doing this, SB 3547 seeks to make it easier for employers to understand and follow the law. The law also gives Madigan's office the authority to file civil lawsuits to enforce ISERRA and requires her office to create the position of ISERRA Advocate to provide training and information to employers and service members. The advocate will be responsible for investigating complaints and drafting the required notice of rights and duties for employers to post.

"When military service members serve our country, they should not lose their civilian jobs at home," Madigan said. "This new law strengthens service members' employment protections."

"Illinois' laws should reflect the commitment our residents, businesses and communities have to members of the military by making it easier for employers to hire service members and be assured they are following the law when their military employees are on active duty," Cullerton said. "By consolidating and strengthening the law, we can help provide stability for service members and give employers the tools they need to keep them on the job."

"As a former officer in the U.S. Army and veteran of the Illinois National Guard, I understand the difficulty of putting your life on hold when you are called to serve, and this law will give service members some peace of mind that their jobs will be waiting for them when the mission is over," Chapa LaVia said. "I was proud to join the Attorney General to pass this law to protect service members' rights while they serve their communities and a grateful nation."

Madigan's Military and Veterans' Rights Bureau advocates for service members, veterans, and their families and investigates and pursues cases of fraud committed against them, including recent cases against unlawful advance pension lenders that targeted veterans and their pension benefits, as well as annuity sales that were misrepresented as effective VA benefit claims assistance. Military service members, veterans and their families can contact Madigan's Military and Veterans Rights Hotline for help at 1-800-382-3000 or 1-800-964-3013 (TTY) or through Madigan's website.

The Military and Veterans' Rights Bureau also provides assistance to service members, including mediating landlord-tenant disputes for service members facing Permanent Change of Station orders that conflict with lease agreements; mediating financial transaction disputes, such as fraudulent credit report entries or erroneous debts; and seeking to obtain compensation owed to veterans or service members on military leave from their public employer for annual guard/reserve training.

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