Legal Briefing: Mandated Reporters and Compulsory Reporting Duties


Thaddeus Mason Pope


This issue’s “Legal Briefing” column, one product of a Greenwall Foundation grant, reviews recent developments concerning compulsory reporting duties.1 Most licensed clinicians in the United States are “mandated reporters.” When these clinicians discover certain threats to the safety of patients or the public, they are legally required to report that information to specified government officials. Over the past year, several states have legislatively expanded the scope of these reporting duties. In other states, new court cases illustrate the vigorous enforcement of already existing duties. I have organized all these legal developments into the following eight categories:

1.   Overview of Mandatory Reporting Duties

2.   Controversy over the Benefits of Mandatory Reporting

3.   New and Expanded Duties to Report

4.   Criminal Penalties for Failing to Report

5.   Civil Liability for Failing to Report

6.   Disciplinary Penalties for Failing to Report

7.   Legal Immunity for Good-Faith Reporting

8.   Protection against Employers’ Retaliation



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