The European Union has created a legislation which establishes new rules for the protection of whistle blowers. The new rules will provide high-levels of protection for whistle blowers, which includes protection against retaliations. The EU believes no one should risk their reputation or job for doing the right thing and exposing illegal behavior.
The new rules
The new EU-wide rules will come into affect 2021.
The new rules will have safeguards in place to protect whistle blowers from retaliations, such as a demotion a suspension or simply being intimated as a result of their report. No retaliation should be afflicted on anyone who helped the whistle blower obtain information such as a colleague. Besides no retaliation other support measure will also be put in place to support whistle blowers.
Measures such as safer channels for reporting something both within private and public organizations and to public or private authorities. Companies with over 50 employees or municipalities of more than 10,000 inhabitants will be mandated to create safe channels.
Besides creating safer channels, the new rules will also dismantle the hierarchy within companies for reporting. Generally, employees are encouraged to report their concerns to the company first, however the new rule will protect whistle blowers if they choose to report it to an external channel in the first place.
What areas and who is exactly protected?
The new rule will cover reports on money laundering, reports against financial services, public procurement and public health to name a few. There is a list of all EU legislative instruments covered in an annex to the directive.
The new rules will protect a wide range of individuals. It will protect employees of course but also volunteers, trainees, civil servants at national or local level, non-executive members, and shareholders. Basically, it will protect anyone who can obtain information on breached in a work-related context.