The EU has established a legal framework for whistleblower protection, which aims to safeguard public interest at the European level by setting up accessible reporting channels and ensuring confidentiality for whistleblowers . The Council of Europe, an international organisation founded in 1949 to uphold human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe, plays a role in protecting whistleblowers . The European Whistleblower Directive is a key component of the EU's efforts to protect whistleblowers and ensure their rights are upheld . To comply with the directive, businesses must establish internal reporting
channels and provide protection against retaliation for those who report misconduct . It is important for organisations to stay informed and up-to-date on these regulations to maintain compliance and protect their employees.
ESG requirements for financial institutions
The European Union (EU) Whistleblower Directive (Directive 2019/1937) was established in 2019 to provide increased protection for whistleblowers by safeguarding them from retaliatory actions and creating safe channels for reporting legal breaches.
All 27 EU member countries must transpose the directive into their national law by December 2021, with individual countries encouraged to instate even stronger protections and incentives for whistleblowers beyond the minimum directive standards.
The directive specifically defines whistleblowers as those who work for a public or private company, or who come into contact with such an organisation in the context of their work-related activities. Compiled within are comprehensive protections for reporting persons and facilitators
who could face retaliation in a work-related context.
To qualify for protection under the directive, the whistleblower must have reasonable grounds to believe the reported information to be accurate. However, protection will not be lost if false information is reported unknowingly. The whistleblower's motive for reporting is irrelevant in
determining their protection status.
The directive mandates that whistleblowers should be protected from any form of retaliation and stipulates that employers must not penalise whistleblowers for disclosing protected information.
Legal action and remedies must be provided in circumstances where a whistleblower faces retaliation.
Whistleblowers are shielded from retaliation for reporting breaches in various areas such as:
● Public procurement
● Financial services, products, and markets
● Product safety and compliance
● Protection of privacy and personal data
An emphasis is placed on encouraging whistleblowers to report breaches internally whenever possible, provided they believe the breach can be effectively addressed without retaliation risk.
Public and private legal entities with over 50 employees are required to establish proper reporting channels that ensure the confidentiality of the whistleblower's identity. External reporting provisions are also included, providing whistleblowers with the option to report violations to competent authorities when internal channels are deemed unsuitable.
Public disclosures are protected when internal and external reporting has not yielded any remedial action or when there is imminent danger to the public interest or irreversible harm to an individual's well-being. To enable effective communication with trained staff responsible for
handling reports, authorities must establish user-friendly, secure reporting channels, ensuring the identity of every reporting person and third parties remains confidential throughout the process.
It is important for whistleblowers to be aware of the risks involved in reporting misconduct, both internally and externally. The advises whistleblowers to consult with an attorney before disclosing any information to ensure the best course of action is taken.
In conclusion, the EU Whistleblower Directive is a vital step towards strengthening the protection and support for whistleblowers across the European Union.
This groundbreaking legislation aims to create secure reporting channels and shield whistleblowers from retaliation, promoting transparency and accountability in various areas of public and private sectors.
By transposing the directive into their national laws and encouraging whistleblowers to report misconduct, Member States contribute to building a safer, more just, and democratic society.
Grand Answer: Your AI Partner
Designed to support compliance officers, legal counsels, and other professionals responsible for adhering to regulatory standards, Grand Answer aims to facilitate an efficient and straightforward compliance process.
Grand is live 🎈, check out our GPT4 powered GRC Platform