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Whistleblowing legislation update

Implementation status of EU Directive 2019/1937 in CEE jurisdictions

More than a year overdue, national implementation of the EU’s Whistleblowing Directive (2019/1837/EU)  is likely to occur in most CEE/SEE countries in 2023. The Directive is expected to have a significant impact on the policies and processes of companies related to employment relationships, data privacy and processing safeguards.

The Directive allows for substantial freedom for countries to implement it into national laws beyond its original scope and may pose substantial challenges to businesses to implement appropriate whistleblowing channels.

Wolf Theiss experts from different jurisdictions have evaluated the current implementation status and provide valuable insights on the legal implications of the most recent developments across Central and Eastern Europe.

Our Whisteblowing Tracker provides realtime updates on how 13 countries in our region are implementing the WB Directive.

Whistleblowing Directive Tracker - 13 countries

Hristina Dzhevlekova and Zuzana Hodonova

As the Whistleblowing Directive is expected to be implemented in most CEE/SEE countries in 2023, our Whistleblowing Tracker will follow the implementation status in 13 countries in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (EU and non-EU countries) and provide an overview of upcoming changes.

In-depth coverage highlights how individual countries across CEE/SEE are grappling with various components of the Directive in national legislation.


Labour and Data Protection Issues

Podcast: Questions on the Austrian Whistleblower Protection Bill

In this episode Magdalena Ziembicka and Anna Schwamberger discuss the recently published Austrian Whistleblower Protection Bill draft and address questions surrounding it.

The Whistleblower Protection Bill, published by the Austrian parliament on 03 June 2022 implements the EU Whistleblower Directive 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches. The draft law is under review until 15 July 2022.


New Croatian Whistleblowing Act

New Croatian Whistleblowing Act came into force in April 2022

A new Whistleblowing Act (‘the Act’) implementing the Directive on the Protection of Persons who Report Breaches of Union Law (Directive (EU) 2019/1937) (‘the Whistleblowing Directive’), came into force in Croatia on 23 April 2022. The new legal framework replaces the existing one which has been in force since 2019.

Three general reporting mechanisms remain unchanged, and they include:

  1. Internal reporting (within the company) in accordance with the procedure set out under the internal bylaw;
  2. External reporting (to the Ombudsman); and
  3. Public disclosure.

However, the Act introduces a few novelties, such as the ability for the whistleblowers to report the irregularity to the Ombudsman without previously using the mechanism of internal reporting. Dora Gazi Kovacevic, together with further experts from our Croatian office, provides valuable insights.


Developments on whistleblower protection

Revised and improved whistleblowing law adopted in Romania

Even if some of the topics covered by the law could be further improved, the latest form of the law demonstrates progress on a practical level.

-Bogdan Bibicu, Partner

After recommendations from compliance specialists, members of the civil society and from the European Commission, a revised, improved form of the law was adopted by the Parliament on 13 December 2022. 


Whistleblowing Software made in Austria

Reporting violations of corporate compliance codes

With the modern, cost-effective software solution SecuReveal, our subsidiary RBS (Responsible Business Solutions) offers a lean and innovative whistleblowing system.

Web-based whistleblowing systems have decisive advantages over telephone whistleblowing hotlines, mere e-mail inboxes or an external ombudsperson.

- Roland Marko, Partner

Getting Whistleblowing Right

The EU’s Whistleblower Protection Directive has created momentum for companies to review their approach to whistleblowing and strengthen their corporate governance practices.

Our experts Paulina Pomorski (Counsel), Gernot Rauter (CFO) and Helmut Waitzer (CIO) discussed already in December 2021  this complex issue from the perspective of key stakeholders and provide insights on how companies can navigate various interests, rules and obligations to develop and implement an effective whistleblowing solution.