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New law on whistleblowing

“Whistleblower” - people who point out violations of the law - will be protected even more in the future. This is the aim of a new law that came into force a few months ago. The new regulation adds to already existing provisions on the protection of whistleblowers in the employment relationship.

New authority
Previously, either the labour inspectorates (for the protection of whistleblowers) or the Ministry of Justice (for the remuneration of whistleblowers) were responsible.

However, the high expectations regarding the detection and combating of illegal activities have not been fulfilled since 2014. This is apparently due to a lack of confidence in the labour inspectorates.

Therefore, a separate independent central authority has now been established, which is competent for whistleblowing matters. This new authority takes over the previous agendas of the labour inspectorates and the Ministry of Justice, on the one hand, and is entrusted with additional tasks, on the other. These include, for example, the submission of comments, advice on the application of the law on whistleblowers or educational activities.

Expansion of the scope of protection, longer legal protection
The new regulation has also introduced an extended definition of whistleblowing. In order to receive legal protection, it is no longer necessary whether the whistleblower has contributed significantly to the discovery of unfair practices. It is sufficient that the whistleblower was convinced of the correctness of his or her criminal complaint.

Furthermore, the duration of legal protection for the whistleblower is extended. Until now, legal protection ended when the criminal or administrative proceedings were terminated. In the future, legal protection will continue to exist three years after the termination of these proceedings.

Author: Petra Krajcik