Substitute Senate Bill No. 88

Public Act No. 00-37

An Act Concerning The Department Of Mental Retardation Registry Of Individuals Terminated Or Separated From Employment As A Result Of Substantiated Abuse Or Neglect.

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

Section 1. Section 17a-247a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As used in sections 17a-247b to 17a-247e, inclusive, as amended by this act, and subdivision (31) of subsection (a) of section 2c-2b:

(1) "Abuse" means the wilful infliction by an employee of physical pain or injury or the wilful deprivation of services necessary to the physical and mental health and safety of a department client.

(2) "Authorized agency" means any agency authorized in accordance with the general statutes to conduct abuse and neglect investigations and responsible for issuing or carrying out protective services for persons with mental retardation.

(3) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Mental Retardation.

(4) "Department" means the Department of Mental Retardation.

(5) "Department client" means a person who is eligible for, and receives services or funding from, the department.

(6) "Employee" means any individual employed (A) by the department, or (B) by an agency, organization or individual that is licensed or funded by the department.

(7) "Employer" means (A) the department, or (B) an agency, organization or individual that is licensed or funded by the department.

(8) "Neglect" means the failure by an employee, through action or inaction, to provide a department client with the services necessary to maintain [his] such client's physical and mental health and safety.

(9) "Protective services" has the same meaning [assigned to it] as provided in section 46a-11a.

(10) "Registry" means a centralized data base containing information regarding substantiated abuse or neglect.

(11) "Substantiated abuse or neglect" means a determination by an authorized agency, following an investigation conducted or monitored by such agency, that (A) abuse or neglect of a department client has occurred, or (B) there has been a criminal conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving abuse or neglect.

Sec. 2. Section 17a-247b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Department of Mental Retardation shall establish and maintain a registry of individuals who have been terminated or separated from employment as a result of substantiated abuse or neglect. The department shall, for the purposes of maintaining the registry, be capable of responding to inquiries [, including response by telephone voice mail or other automated response for initial inquiries,] in accordance with subsection (c) of this section as to whether an individual has been terminated or separated from employment as a result of substantiated abuse or neglect. Such capability may include response by telephone voice mail or other automated response for initial inquiries.

(b) The registry shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) The names, addresses and Social Security numbers of those individuals terminated or separated from employment as a result of substantiated abuse or neglect; (2) the date of termination or separation; (3) the type of abuse or neglect; and (4) the name of any employer or authorized agency requesting information from the registry, the reason for the request and the date of the request.

(c) The department shall make information in the registry [, other than limited information available through an automated response to an initial inquiry,] available only to: (1) Authorized agencies, for the purpose of protective service determinations; or (2) employers who employ individuals to provide services to a department client.

(d) The department shall limit responses to requests for identifying information from the registry established under this section to (1) identification of the individual terminated or separated from employment for substantiated abuse or neglect, and (2) the type of abuse or neglect so substantiated.

(e) Not later than five business days following receipt of written notification by an authorized agency of the substantiation of abuse or neglect by an employee who has been terminated or separated from employment for such abuse or neglect, an employer shall submit to the department the name of such employee and such other information as the department may request. Upon receipt of notification of such termination or separation, the department shall conduct a hearing in accordance with sections 4-177 to 4-181a, inclusive, governing contested cases. The department shall not place an individual's name on the registry until the department has completed the hearing and the hearing has resulted in a decision to place the individual's name on the registry.

(f) The department shall remove an employee's name from the registry if an arbitration or a legal proceeding results in a finding that the employee was unfairly terminated from employment.

(g) No employer shall be liable in any civil action for damages brought by an employee or an applicant for employment whose name appears on the registry established by this section arising out of the conduct of the employer in (1) making any report in good faith pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, (2) testifying under oath in any administrative or judicial proceeding arising from such report, (3) refusing to hire or to retain any individual whose name appears on the registry established under this section, or (4) taking any other action to conform to the requirements of this section. The immunity provided in this subsection shall not apply to gross negligence or to wilful or wanton misconduct.

Sec. 3. Section 17a-247c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No employer shall hire an individual whose name appears on the registry and no employer shall retain an individual after receiving notice that an individual's name so appears.

(b) The department shall, on at least a semiannual basis, issue a notice to employers containing the name of each individual placed on the registry and the identifying information pertaining to such individual as provided in subsection (d) of section 17a-247b, as amended by this act.

Sec. 4. Section 17a-247e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The Department of Mental Retardation shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to implement the provisions of sections 17a-247b to 17a-247e, inclusive, as amended by this act.

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved May 1, 2000