Substitute House Bill No. 6971

Public Act No. 99-146

An Act Concerning Whistleblower Protection for Health and Safety Violations.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 31-379 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No person shall discharge, discipline, penalize or in any manner discriminate against any employee (1) because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this chapter, [or] (2) because such employee has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or (3) because of the exercise by such employee on behalf of [himself] such employee or others of any right afforded by this chapter.

(b) Any employee who believes that [he] such employee has been discharged, disciplined, penalized or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of subsection (a) of this section may, [within thirty] not later than one hundred eighty days after such violation occurs, file a complaint with the commissioner alleging such [discrimination] violation. Upon receipt of such complaint the commissioner shall [cause such investigation to be made as he deems appropriate. If upon such investigation the commissioner determines that the provisions of this subsection have been violated he shall bring an action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford against such person. In any such action the court shall have jurisdiction, for cause shown, to restrain violations of subsection (a) of this section and to order all appropriate relief including rehiring or reinstatement of the employee to his former position with back pay] hold a hearing in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

[(c) Within ninety days of the receipt of a complaint filed under this section the commissioner shall notify the complainant and the employer of his determination of such complaint.]

(c) The commissioner may award an aggrieved employee all appropriate relief, including rehiring or reinstatement of the employee to the employee's former position, back pay and reestablishment of any employee benefits to which the employee would otherwise have been eligible if such violation had not occurred. The commissioner shall award a prevailing employee such employee's costs, together with reasonable attorneys' fees to be determined by the commissioner.

(d) Any party aggrieved by the commissioner's decision under subsection (c) of this section may appeal the decision to the Superior Court in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Approved June 8, 1999