When Soldiers are deployed for combat or return home, the State Attorney General's Office wants them to know their jobs and Civil Rights are protected in the Garden State.

The A.G's office has launched an initiative designed to promote Civil Rights awareness for veterans and Active-duty Military Personnel. Civil Rights Division Director Craig Sashihara (pictured)  says they want these individuals to know that they have legal recourse if they've been discriminated against.

"We can order employers to hire, to promote or reinstate the military member into a position and we can order them to restore health benefits, pension benefits, seniority rights. We can award back pay for damages for pain or humiliation. We can also award Attorney's fees and asses penalties of up to $10,000 for the first offense and $25,000 for a second offense."

Sashihara says they're working with Veterans organizations through out the state to put on a series of public forums next year. "Through these forums they will be able to obtain useful information on how to proceed if they feel their rights have been violated. However, the sessions are not designed to be one way events. We want to hear from the Veterans, their loved ones, their advocates on how we can most effectively assist them. We also want to maintain a continuing dialogue."

Sashihara says Veterans can report instances of work-place and other instances of discrimination to the Civil Rights Division's four regional offices located in Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton and Newark. They can also get information from the Civil Rights Division Web site at: www.njcivilrights.org