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World

Brazil: Decreto 8420/15 "Clean Companies Act" from 2015

The Decree provides a substantive list of 16 elements that will be taken into consideration when authorities evaluate a company's compliance program. This includes, amongst others, channels to report irregularities openly and broadly disseminated among employees and third parties, and mechanisms to protect good-faith whistleblowers.

Link (Portuguese)

India: Whistleblowers Protection Bill 2011 from 2014

This bill is concerned with setting up a public whistleblowing system for reporting suspected cases of corruption or other instances of public offices being misused. One chapter of the bill is aimed at the comprehensive protection of whistleblowers.

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India: Companies Act from 2013

This law governs the protection of whistleblowers at listed companies and directs them to use specified mechanisms in order to report financial risks or grievances in this area to the Supervisory Board (Section 177). 

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USA: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act from 2010

In Section 922 it is specified that whistleblowers are to be protected from dismissal, for example. Furthermore, whistleblowers are to have the right to claim financial compensation if the information they submit to the American Securities and Exchange Commission leads to the discovery of breaches of American securities laws (e.g. SOX, FCPA).

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2015 annual report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program

USA: Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) from 2002

All companies listed on the US Stock Exchange, as well as their subsidiaries, must fulfil the conditions of the SOX. This Act requires that an appropriate formal process be set up in order to anonymously record, process, and store complaints, criticism, or questions regarding erroneous accounting or accounting controls, including insufficient internal controls (Section 301). Should corruption be uncovered, the whistleblower is to be protected against retribution from the employer, company management, colleagues, and sub-contractors (Section 806).

The law sets out standard time frames within which whistleblowers' complaints must be followed up and stipulates that the whistleblower is to be informed of the progress of the investigation. A "Special Counsel" must report to the US Congress annually on the number of complaints received and how these were handled. In order to protect whistleblower's better against retribution measures, they must only divulge their identity in special cases. Interim legal regulations may be requested in order to protect the whistleblower in question whilst the process is still on-going. Should the whistleblower win a case then he/she will be reimbursed for all expenditure and legal costs. As well as these procedural protection regulations, the law stipulates that a whistleblower can, at his/her request, be transferred to a different place of work if he/she fears retribution.

A US Supreme Court highlighted the international significance of the SOX in a 2008 lawsuit. According to the ruling in the case, these protective provisions are also applicable for internal whistleblowers at international companies with US operations. Furthermore, those protective provisions contained in the SOX are also applicable in cases which are not concerned with fraud, in a narrower sense, committed against shareholders.

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USA: Whistleblower Protection Act from 1989 / 1994

Government officials who report, in good faith, cases where laws are breached, resources are wasted, or official authority is abused, are to be protected according to the Whistleblower Protection Act. Furthermore, individual states of the USA have passed further laws to protect whistleblowers in the private sector. These laws prohibit dismissal or other discrimination of whistleblowers. If the employer violates these conditions, the person in question has the right to re-employment, back pay, damage compensation, and reimbursement of legal costs.

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USA: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) from 1977

The FCPA prohibits private persons, public officials, companies, their employees and intermediaries from making payments or financial contributions to foreign public officers in order to be granted tender for a transaction or in order to maintain a business relationship. The US Constitution calls for a worldwide area of application: If, in a case of bribery by non-American public officials and function owners, a connection, e.g. of a financial nature, is made to the USA, then this may be lead to serious penalties for foreign companies and their institutions. Amongst other things, the FCPA demands an effective compliance programme which is to include a whistleblowing system pursuant to the 2012 guidelines "A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" (Hallmark No. 8, p. 61).

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Africa: African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption from 2003

African member states are to legally protect whistleblowers and their identities and are to furthermore introduce measures to allow citizens to report criminal acts of corruption without fear of personal damages.

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America: Inter-American Convention against Corruption from 1996

The Organization Of American States (OAS) obliges member states, under the section on Prevention Measures in Article III, No. 8, to set up and integrate a system for protecting whistleblowers and their identity.

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