(820 ILCS 255/17) (from Ch. 48, par. 1417)
    Sec. 17. (a) An employee, employee representative or employer who alleges that he or she has been denied his or her rights under this Act may, within 180 days of the alleged denial or after first learning of the alleged denial, file a complaint alleging a violation of the Act with the Department. The Department shall investigate the complaint and shall have authority to request the issuance of a search warrant or subpoena to inspect the files or premises of an employer, manufacturer, importer or supplier, if necessary. The Department shall attempt to resolve the complaint by conference, conciliation, or persuasion. If the complaint is not so resolved and the Department finds probable cause to believe a violation has occurred, the Department shall proceed with notice and a hearing on the complaint.
    (b) The hearing will be held within 60 days of receipt by the party alleged to have committed a violation of the Act, hereafter referred to as the respondent, of the complaint and the hearing notice. At the hearing, the employee, employee representative or employer and the respondent shall have the right to present evidence, to be represented by counsel or labor union representatives, and to cross-examine witnesses. In addition, the Director shall promulgate rules providing for the issuance of subpoenas to compel witnesses to attend the hearing and for orderly prehearing exchange of information and documents by the complaining employee, employee representatives or employer and the respondent.
    (c) Remedies. The Director shall issue a decision and order within 30 days after the hearing. If the Director finds that an employer, manufacturer, importer, supplier or other person has violated this Act, he shall order the violator to cease and desist violating and may order the violator to institute an education and training program, provide the requested information, reinstate an employee and provide back pay to an employee, and assess attorney's fees and hearing costs.
    (d) Penalties for violation. Any employer, manufacturer, importer, supplier, or other person who, in a hearing held pursuant to this Section is found by the Director to be in violation of the Act shall forfeit not more than $1,000 for each such violation. Any person who wilfully or repeatedly violates any provision of this Act or an order of the Director issued pursuant to this Section shall forfeit not more than $10,000 for each such violation.
    (e) Punitive damages. The Director of the Department is authorized to assess punitive damages against any employer, manufacturer, importer, supplier or other person, who knowingly and wilfully violates any of the provisions of this Act. Punitive damages shall not exceed 10 times the total monetary amount owed by the liable party pursuant to subsections (c) and (d) of this Section or $20,000, whichever is larger.
    (f) Any party to the hearing adversely affected by a final decision pursuant to subsections (c), (d), or (e) of this Section may obtain judicial review by filing a petition under the Administrative Review Law of the Code of Civil Procedure within 35 days of the decision; except that, where the Director has failed to issue a decision within 30 days after the hearing, the complainant shall have the right to file his or her complaint as an original action in the circuit court of this State. The remedies available in such an original action shall be the same as those specified in subsections (c), (d) and (e) of this Section.
(Source: P.A. 83-240.)