Whistleblower Protection Act passed

Categories:

The new Whistleblower Protection Act will apply from July 2, 2023, some regulations will already apply from June 3, 2023. When the law comes into force, companies will have new obligations depending on their size and type of company. Violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act can be punished with fines of up to 50,000 euros. Affected companies should therefore familiarize themselves with the new regulations as soon as possible and identify any need for implementation.

Who is protected?

The law protects natural persons who have received information about violations of national or European law in connection with their professional activity or in the run-up to a professional activity (so-called whistleblowers). In practice, the information will often relate to issues in the areas of public procurement and tax law as well as violations in the area of ​​data protection and money laundering. Individuals who intentionally or through gross negligence report false information will not be protected.

What measures does the law provide for?

To ensure optimum protection for whistleblowers, the law provides for various measures, in particular the obligation to protect the identity of whistleblowers, protection against reprisals, criminal liability and damages, as well as a comprehensive requirement to treat the information obtained confidentially.

Who has to set up internal reporting points?

Companies, which usually have at least 50 employees, are obliged to set up internal reporting offices. Regardless of the specific number of employees, the obligation applies to companies in the specific sectors specified in the law, e.g. B. Investment services companies (see Section 12 (3) HinSchG). The law grants companies between 50 and 249 employees a transitional period; they only have to set up internal reporting offices from December 17, 2023. The reporting offices are responsible, among other things, for receiving relevant information and for initiating remedial measures. The company concerned can entrust a suitable person in the company with the support of the reporting office or commission an external third party, e.g. B. a lawyer.

What has to be done now?

Since the Whistleblower Protection Act will come into force next month, all companies should familiarize themselves with the relevant regulations. Companies that are obliged to set up an internal reporting office now have to start implementing it. In addition, labor law measures must also be taken, in particular to raise employee awareness.