Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
Chapter 19C of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 11, as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 11. No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged or otherwise discipline or in any manner discriminate against or thereafter take any other retaliatory action against any employee, client or other person for filing a report with the commission or testifying in any commission proceeding or providing information to the commission, the general counsel or the secretary of health and human services or any department, office, commission or other agency within the executive office of health and human services in the course of an investigation of alleged abuse of a disabled person. Any person who willfully violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both. In addition, any person who takes such prohibited action against an employee, client or other person may be liable to that employee, client or other person for treble damages, costs and attorney's fees.
A violation of an employee's rights under this section shall constitute a prohibited retaliatory action under subsection (b) of section 185 of chapter 149 if the employee is an employee for purposes of said section 185. The institution of a private action in accordance with this section by any such employee shall be deemed a waiver by the employee of the rights and remedies available to that employee under said section 185, and the institution of such an action under said section 185 shall be deemed a waiver of the rights and remedies available to that employee under this section. A person who willfully files a false report of abuse with the commission or willfully testifies falsely or willfully provides the commission or any designated investigating agency with false information in the course of an investigation or any other commission proceeding shall not be afforded the protections of this section.
Upon receiving a report or other information pursuant to this section, the commission shall inform the person providing the report, testifying or providing information of that person's rights under this section and under section 185 of chapter 149 in writing. The commission may seek enforcement of the criminal provisions of this section.