Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 24 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:S3a-7204

The Public Interest Disclosure Act came into force earlier this month, and its provisions are reviewed in detail in the current issue of IDS Briefing (1999;640:9-13). The act is designed to protect the employment rights of individuals who disclose criminal acts, failure to comply with legal obligations, miscarriages of justice, dangers to health and safety, environmental damage, or deliberate concealment of anything on that list. The standard is subjective: the whistleblower should have a “reasonable belief” that the disclosed material demonstrates a problem. Disclosure must follow the proper procedures, the precise definitions of which are complex. In essence the disclosure must be made in good faith, be of an exceptionally serious nature, and be made to the proper authority. If the above conditions are satisfied dismissal or other employment detriments will be unlawful, with potentially unlimited compensation.

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