(20 ILCS 2421/50)
    Sec. 50. Hearings; arbitration.
    (a) Any blind vendor dissatisfied with any act or omission arising from the operation or administration of the vending facility program may submit to the Secretary a request for a full evidentiary hearing. This hearing shall be provided in a timely manner by the Department. Damages, including compensatory damages, attorney's fees, and expenses, must be paid to any operator who prevails in the full evidentiary hearing; however, payment of damages may not be paid from any program funds, the Blind Vendors Trust Fund, or federal rehabilitation funds. If the blind vendor is dissatisfied with any action taken or decision rendered as a result of the hearing, that vendor may file a complaint for arbitration with the Secretary.
    (b) If the Secretary determines that any State agency has failed to comply with the requirements of this Act, the Secretary must establish a panel to arbitrate the dispute and the decision of the panel shall be final and binding on the parties. Any arbitration panel convened by the Secretary shall be composed of 3 members, appointed as follows:
        (1) one individual appointed by the Secretary;
        (2) one individual appointed by the State agency
determined by the Secretary to be in noncompliance with the Act; and
        (3) one individual, who shall serve as chairperson,
jointly designated by the members appointed under items (1) and (2); provided that, if within 30 days following the Secretary's determination of noncompliance either party fails to appoint a panel member, or if the parties are unable to agree on the appointment of the chairperson, the Secretary shall select the final panel member or may designate a hearing officer of the Department who shall preside.
    (c) The Secretary may issue a letter of reprimand to a blind vendor who violates program rules or policy. Depending upon the seriousness of the alleged violation, the letter of reprimand may indicate the intention to suspend or terminate the license of the vendor. All reprimand letters shall be sent in a medium accessible by the vendor, and shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Secretary must make every reasonable effort to assist the subject vendor to correct the problem for which the vendor is reprimanded. No process to suspend or terminate a license shall be initiated before the vendor is accorded the opportunity for a full evidentiary hearing as provided under subsection (a). A vendor may be summarily removed from a facility only in an emergency.
(Source: P.A. 96-644, eff. 1-1-10.)