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Europe

France: Lignes Directrices from 2015

The French commission for the fight against corruption Service Central de Prévention de la Corruption (SCPC) released guidelines for the reinforcement of prevention of corruption in commercial transactions.

Within the principle 3d "Setting up an internal whistle-blowing mechanism" the guidelines demand the collection of any reports as well as adequate protection of employees who report illegal or risky behaviour or situations.

Link

France: Délibération de la CNIL n° 2014-042 from 2014

In 2014, the French data protection authority Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) eased the stringent restrictions for the permitted fields of application for whistleblowing systems. Whilst it was previously only allowed to submit reports on topics concerning finances, bookkeeping, banking, and the battle against corruption, now reports regarding the topics of environmental protection, discrimination, health and hygiene, as well as workplace safety are also permitted – provided the company is legally obliged to comply in this regard or has an economic interest in these areas. According to this, the anonymity in a whistleblowing system shall not be actively promoted and, in future, whistleblowers shall also be motivated to provide their name along with the information. Here, companies are strongly advised to treat the identity of whistleblowers confidentially when handling this information. Anonymous reports may still be processed if the severity of the acts described has been ascertained, the process has been described in sufficient detail, and the report is be processed with "great attention".

Link (French)

Netherlands: House for Whistleblowers Act from 2016

To start with, reports should be submitted within a company. For this, the companies must take internal measures, e.g. in the form of an anonymous whistleblowing system. “Suspected malpractice” must be clearly defined, contact persons and the reporting process must be known in advance and companies must ensure that whistleblowers will be comprehensively protected against reprisals. The protection comprises, apart from current employees, also former employees and external colleagues. What is more, the law established the “Institute for Whistleblowers” with two strictly separated areas of responsibility. In the advisory function, the Institute advises, informs and supports the whistleblowers and forwards cases to authorities. In the clarification function, it takes decisions regarding whether cases should be pursued further and, where necessary, also investigates itself. The report of an employee to the Institute must be preceded by a company-internal report. In contrast to the authorities, the Institute only has limited rights. It can demand information from the companies; however, the subsequent report with suggestions to the company is not legally binding.

Link (Dutch)

Ireland: Protected Disclosures Act from 2014

This regulation provides for extensive protection for whistleblowers who report abuses at their workplace in the public and private sectors. In the event of an unjustified termination due to disclosure of information, a compensatory payment corresponding to the whistleblower's income is possible. If a reported offence turns out to be false, the whistleblower is still protected, unless the report concerns intentionally incorrect information.

Link

Luxembourg: Loi Moyens de lutte contre la corruption from 2011

This law only allows for whistleblowers to be protected if they submit information on grievances to the Public Prosecutor's Office or superiors at their company. External whistleblowing is not protected.

Link (French)

Austria: change of the Stock Exchange Act (BörseG 1989) of 2016

Section 48h obliges employers in the field of financial markets to make available suitable procedures that “allow their employees to report company-internal breaches of the regulations stipulated by this federal law or of provisions passed on the basis of these regulations or decisions or Directive (EU) No. 596/2014 or a legal act passed on grounds of this directive to a suitable authority without jeopardising the confidentiality of their own identity.”

Link (German)

Austria: Austrian Banking Act § 99 BWG from 2013

According to the implementation of an EU Directive, banks and financial institutions in the European Union must establish adequate measures, in order for their employees to be able to confidentially and anonymously report on criminally-relevant actions within the company. Employees who report such acts are to enjoy comprehensive protection.

Link (German)

Whistleblowing systems in Austria have to be registered with the data privacy agency (Datenschutzbehörde). They must fulfil the following criteria, amongst others: Primarily executive employees get accused of severe malpractice, the whistleblowing system is strictly separated from other group sections, data is deleted after case closure, the anonymity of the whistleblower is secured at least towards externals - except from knowingly wrong accusations.

Link (German)

Romania: Whistleblower Protection Act from 2004

Employees of public authorities and national limited liability companies may make information on grievances public and transmit this to the media.

Link

Switzerland: Ruling from the Swiss Federal Council from 2013

In principle, employees in the private sector are also forbidden in future to make information on grievances at their workplace public. They may only report them to a public authority, if their employer does not offer an internal reporting system or if the employer does not respond to a submitted report.

Link (German)