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Whistleblowing legislation update

Implementation status of EU Directive 2019/1937 in CEE jurisdictions

EU Directive 2019/1937 (also known as the “Whistleblowing Directive”) has undergone several changes over the last two years. In light of the latest changes introduced, there have been many reactions on the implementation of this directive in the different European jurisdictions.

One of the core provisions of the draft law is the protection of the whistleblower’s identity. The identity of the whistleblower may only be disclosed for the purposes of judicial or administrative proceedings if it is indispensable and proportionate for these proceedings and only after the authorities have notified the whistleblower about the need for such disclosure.

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 in Austria, Croatia and Romania.

Austria

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.

Croatia

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.

Romania

Developments on whistleblower protection

Immediate reactions and practical considerations on the newly-adopted law

In light of the latest changes introduced on 28 June 2022, there have been many reactions aimed at bringing attention to the less protective measures for persons who understand “bring to light” breaches of internal rules and regulations of a company

- Bogdan Bibicu, Partner

On 29 June, the Chamber of Deputies, as the decision-making parliamentary chamber, adopted the law on the protection of whistleblowers in Romania. Partners Bogdan Bibicu and Bogdan Lamatic provide practical considerations on the new law.

SecuReveal

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.