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What does the EU Whistleblowing directive mean for organisations?

by Camilla Petersen

Whistleblowing

The new EU Whistleblowing directive was entered into action in December 2019, and with it started the 2-year implementation period for organisations across the EU. This requires organisations, companies and municipalities with more than 50 employees, or with more than 10.000 inhabitants to implement a channel for whistleblowing in order to comply with the directive.

What is the purpose of a whistleblowing channel?

A whistleblowing channel is needed to help large organisations to enable a clear channel for all misconduct reporting, to better handle these reports (both smaller and bigger cases), and most importantly, to protect the identity of the people that are willing to take action on reporting.

As a result of having a safe channel for all whistleblowing reports, the organisation can ensure that it stays compliant with national and EU laws inside of areas such as:

  • Employee and worker treatment and contracts that are in conflict with the union legislation and the law
  • Finance related; e.g. taxes, corruption & potential fraud cases
  • Equal treatment of tenders & prevention of nepotism in selection of new partners for the business
  • Food safety and overall safety of employees and other stakeholders interacting with the company
  • And any other areas of the business that includes people, animals, products/ services

How to comply with the whistleblowing directive?

If your organisation is in the bracket for the new directive, you will need to implement a channel where people can report any misconduct that may happen. The EU specifies that the channel can be any of the following: 

  • An electronic channel where people can report what they notice
  • A phone line where people can call in and report
  • A post box option where people can send letters with their report

According to the legislation the channel should be 100% anonymous, and not have any indicators that would reveal the identity of the whistleblower. This is required to ensure that no retaliation (such as demotions, pay cuts, bullying, firing or lay-off) on the person who reported the case is made. 

The channel should, furthermore, be communicating to the people in the organisation who are responsible for the different areas in which a whistleblowing report could be made, so that they can take the actions needed to handle the cases.

Conclusion

The deadline for organisations to implement the whistleblowing channels is in December 2021 and the directive specifies that there will be penalties for organisations not having a channel implemented in time, as well as penalties if the channel isn’t fully confidential. If a whistleblower is punished or receives any kind of retaliation, the directive also specifies that there will be sanctions imposed on the organisation where it happened.

We've now covered the basics when it comes to the new directive, but what kind of protection does it offer for whistleblowers? Are there requirements that need to be met by whistleblowers in order to be entitled for the protection? We'll be answering these questions in our next blog post called "How does the EU Whistleblowing directive protect whistleblowers?".

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If you're looking for an electronic whistleblowing channel that is in line with the new directive, ticks all the boxes for anonymity, enables real dialogue, has built-in investigation features and more, have a look at our incy.io | Whistleblowing module and contact us for more information!

We're a tech company with a passion for helping our customers adapt to the fast changing VUCA world. We're doing that by developing easy-to-use SaaS products that make gathering, managing and analysing field information as easy as possible for the end users. Remove gatekeepers, go horizontal and learn from your mistakes before they actually happen. More info at planbrothers.io

Whistleblowing

Camilla Petersen

Country Manager, Denmark