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Protecting the whistleblower: preventing retaliation following a report of patient abuse in health‐care institutions

Kevin Burkin (Department of Management at the School of Business Administration and Economics, California State University, Fullerton, California, USA)
Brian H. Kleiner (Department of Management at the School of Business Administration and Economics, California State University, Fullerton, California, USA)

Health Manpower Management

ISSN: 0955-2065

Article publication date: 1 June 1998

Abstract

Health‐care providers throughout the USA face litigation and the threat of litigation on a daily basis due to claims of patient abuse. Hidden within the costs associated with defending patient abuse claims are the wrongful termination filings made by employees who claim they were retaliated against for their whistleblowing activity. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate why an employer would resort to retaliatory acts in the shadow of a patient abuse filing and to discuss what steps are currently taken to prove and investigate the validity of a retaliation claim. Included within the body of this paper are court decisions on the topics of whistleblowing protection and violation of public policy. These examples are illustrated so that recommendations can be provided that assist the employer in avoiding a wrongful discharge claim and help to conclude that retaliation against the whistleblower is a costly mistake even with the employment at‐will principle as a defense.

Keywords

Citation

Burkin, K. and Kleiner, B.H. (1998), "Protecting the whistleblower: preventing retaliation following a report of patient abuse in health‐care institutions", Health Manpower Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 119-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/09552069810207088

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited