November 01, 2019
The EU formally adopted a new Directive to safeguard whistleblowers and to ensure that employees and other stakeholders can raise concerns confidentially and with confidence that they will not be retaliated against.
Member nations now have two years in which to transpose the legislation into national law, which means the Directive will come into force at the national level in October 2021, with employers with 250 or more employees required to comply within two years.
Key provisions of the new Directive include:
The EU Directive also imposes a number of obligations on businesses, including setting up particular internal processes and reporting channels, required personal meetings with whistleblowers should it be requested, protecting whistleblowers’ identity, confirming receipt of a report to whistleblowers within seven days, and maintaining records of evidence, among other requirements.
Companies that obstruct the reporting of concerns or attempt to obstruct them will face penalties. The same applies if companies fail to keep the identity of the whistleblower confidential. Retaliatory measures against whistleblowers will also be punished. National legislators will decide on the scope and severity of such penalties.