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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XXI LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
  • CHAPTER 151A UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
  • Section 46 Confidential information; admissibility as evidence; exceptions to disclosure restrictions

Section 46. (a) Except as provided in this section, information secured pursuant to this chapter is confidential and for the exclusive use and information of the department in the discharge of its duties. Such information is not a public record nor admissible in any action or proceeding, except as provided in this section. This information is absolutely privileged and shall not be made the subject matter or basis in any action of slander, libel or emotional distress.

(b) Such information may be admissible only in the following actions or proceedings:

(1) in civil or criminal cases brought pursuant to this chapter where the department or the commonwealth is a necessary party;

(2) in civil cases relating to the enforcement of child support obligations under section twenty-nine B;

(3) in criminal prosecutions for homicide, or any offense stemming from investigations conducted pursuant to section 10 of chapter 14; and

(4) in criminal prosecutions for violation of federal law.

(c) The department shall disclose, upon request, such information in the following circumstances:

(1) to any employer, information concerning the employer’s record;

(2) to any claimant or to the claimant’s authorized agent, information concerning the claimant’s own record;

(3) to the commissioners of transitional assistance, revenue, veterans’ services, medical security and industrial accidents, information necessary in the performance of their official duties;

(4) to probation or parole officers working for a governmental agency, information necessary in the performance of their official duties;

(5) to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Department of the Treasury, information necessary for purposes of the administration of federal unemployment taxes.

(6) to the state police, including the state police violent fugitive arrest squad, and local police departments, identifying and locating information, upon request for the sole purpose of identifying and locating individuals wanted on default or arrest warrants. Only identifying information including, but not limited to, name, date of birth, all pertinent addresses, telephone number and social security number shall be made available to the state police and local police departments pursuant to this section.

[ Paragraph (7) effective until January 1, 2014. For text effective January 1, 2014, see below.]

(7) to the commonwealth health insurance connector, information under an interagency agreement for the administration and enforcement of sections 17 and 18 of chapter 176Q and for the administration of the fair share employer contribution requirement under section 188 of chapter 149.

[ Paragraph (7) of subsection (c) as amended by 2013, 35, Sec. 36 effective January 1, 2014. See 2013, 35, Sec. 104. For text effective until January 1, 2014, see above.]

(7) to the commonwealth health insurance connector authority, information under an interagency agreement for the administration and enforcement of chapter 176Q.

(71/2) to the executive office of health and human services, information under an interagency agreement for the administration and enforcement of paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of section 69 of chapter 118E.

[ Paragraph (8) of subsection (c) effective until January 1, 2014. Deleted by 2013, 35, Sec. 37. See 2013, 35, Sec. 104.]

(8) to the commonwealth health insurance connector authority, information under an interagency agreement for the administration and enforcement of chapter 118H.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the commissioner from (i) complying with the provisions of section sixty-five, (ii) conducting any investigations under said section, or (iii) publishing in statistical form the results of any such investigations without disclosing the identity of the individual involved.

(e) Whoever discloses such information contrary to this section and without the authority of the commissioner or pursuant to the commissioner’s rules and regulations, or as otherwise required or authorized by law, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

(f) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the commissioner from requesting and exchanging information for purposes of income and eligibility verification in accordance with a system which meets the requirements of section 1137 of the Social Security Act and the regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Labor thereunder. In addition, nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the commissioner from providing information to the Secretary of Health and Human Services under sections 453 (e) and 453 (f) of the Social Security Act and to officers and employees of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and to representatives of a public housing agency in accordance with section 903 (c) of P.L. 100-628, the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1988, to the extent required by section 303 of the Social Security Act; provided, however, that appropriate arrangements have been made for reimbursing the department for the costs of providing such information. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the commissioner from providing information to the division of medical assistance and the secretary of health and human services to support the provision of federal funding under section 1115 of the Social Security Act for programs implemented pursuant to subsection (j) of section 14G.

(g) (1) Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this section, the commissioner may publish a list of all active employers which are delinquent under this chapter in the payment of their obligations in an amount greater than five thousand dollars.

(2) At least ninety days prior to disclosing the identity of any such delinquent employer, the commissioner shall mail by certified mail addressed to such delinquent employer at the employer’s last or usual place of business or abode a written notice detailing the amount, the nature, and the intended disclosure of this delinquency. If the delinquent amount has not been paid sixty days after said notice was mailed, the commissioner may publicly disclose such delinquency.

(3) Unpaid obligations shall not be deemed to be delinquent and subject to disclosure if there is a written agreement for payment without default between the employer and the commissioner, or the commissioner certifies that the liability is under appeal or is based wholly upon a question of law that is currently under appeal before a court or the board of review in another case involving the same question or that the employer has filed a petition in bankruptcy pursuant to 11 USC section 101 et seq.

(4) Any unauthorized disclosure made by the commissioner in a good faith effort to comply with this paragraph shall not be considered a violation of this section.

(h) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the commissioner from participating with the commissioner of revenue in a program which permits employing units subject to this chapter to file with the department of revenue a consolidated return which includes, but is not limited to, unemployment insurance, unemployment health insurance, workforce training, income tax withholding and wage reporting information, together with the required payment.

(i) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the commissioner from participating with the commissioner of revenue in a program which permits employing units subject to this chapter to file with the department of revenue a consolidated return which shall include, but need not be limited to, unemployment insurance, unemployment health insurance, workforce training, income tax withholding and wage reporting information, together with the required payment.

(j) (1) The commissioner may provide the United States Census Bureau with information for use by the Census Bureau in the Longitudinal Household - Employer Dynamics System pursuant to a written agreement between the United States Census Bureau and the commissioner. The confidentiality of such information shall be protected by this section and Title XIII of the United States Code.

(2) The commissioner may provide the Bureau of Labor Statistics with information for the purpose of carrying out its responsibilities and duties under chapter 1 of Title XXIX of the United States Code pursuant to a written agreement between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the commissioner. The confidentiality of such information shall be protected by this section and Title XXIX of the United States Code.