SECTION 1. Chapter 149 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 192. (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:-
“Retaliatory action”, the discharge, suspension or demotion of an employee, or other adverse employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.
(b) Any provision in a settlement agreement between an employer and an employee, including but not limited to a non-disclosure agreement, that waives a substantive or procedural right or remedy of the employee relating to a claim of discrimination, non-payment of wages or benefits, retaliation, harassment or violation of public policy in employment, including but not limited to prohibiting the disclosure of information relative to any such claim shall be valid and enforceable for only 3 years from the date the agreement takes effect.
(c) Upon the expiration of the 3 year period pursuant to subsection (b), any such provision may be renewed and such original agreement may be renegotiated upon the agreement of both parties, in writing, to the terms of such renewal or renegotiation. Any such provision renewed pursuant to this subsection shall be valid and enforceable. If such provision is not renewed in accordance with this subsection, the provision shall be deemed void and unenforceable upon the expiration of the 3 year period, and the remainder of the agreement shall remain in effect unless the agreement explicitly provides otherwise or the agreement is renegotiated pursuant to this subsection.
(d) This section shall not render void or unenforceable the remainder of the contract or agreement. This section shall not apply to the terms of any collective bargaining agreement between an employer and the bona fide collective bargaining representative of that employer’s employees.
(e) An employer shall not take any retaliatory action against an employee because the employee does not enter into an agreement that includes a provision deemed void or unenforceable pursuant to this section.
(f) Whoever violates this section or enforces or attempts to enforce a provision deemed void and unenforceable under this section shall be liable for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs associated with litigation.
(g) A person aggrieved by a violation of this section may, within 3 years after such violation, institute a civil action in superior court. All remedies available in common law tort actions shall be available to prevailing plaintiffs. The court may also order the payment of reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. The rights and remedies contained in this section shall not be exclusive and shall not preempt other procedures or remedies available.
SECTION 2. This act shall apply to all settlement agreements, including but not limited to non-disclosure agreements, entered into, renewed, modified or amended on or after the effective date of this act.
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