By 24 August 2023, companies in Austria with 250 or more employees must have established internal reporting channels. Key points for employers to consider are the following:
- Reporting channels may be operated internally or by a third party, and must be equipped with adequate personnel and financial means.
- These reporting channels must allow employees to report breaches of those areas of law of high public interest that are listed in the Whistleblower Protection Act, including environment protection, public health, data protection, money laundering, and bribery.
- Anonymous reports are allowed, but not required.
- Reporting channels must keep the identity of the whistleblower and the implicated party confidential.
- Certain procedural requirements (acknowledgement of the report, follow-ups, etc) apply.
- Whistleblowers are protected against retaliation. Instances of retaliation may be subject to administrative fines and damage claims. Certain measures, such as a retaliatory termination of the whistleblower, are void.
- In certain cases, employers may need to conclude a shop agreement with their works council.
Companies with a headcount between 50 and 249 employees have until 17 December 2023 to set up internal reporting channels.
Should you have any questions or like further details, please contact us.
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