Delayed protection: Challenges of whistleblowing in Europe
By Jeremiasz Kuśmierz, Penteris
Most EU states have still not implemented the so-called “Whistleblowing Directive” and Poland is no exception. Although the government published the working draft of the implementation law prior to the transposition deadline in October 2021, legislative efforts have been caught up in a prolonged public consultation process driven by the conflicting positions of employers and trade unions.
Such a situation is hardly ideal from the perspective of business. Larger entities (employing at least 250 employees), as required by the Directive, will be bound by new requirements and obligations as soon as the new law comes into force. Yet for now, it is still uncertain what final form those new requirements will take.
A short delay in implementation of the proper measures may seem trivial, but only until one realises that according to the proposed bill a failure to comply with the obligation to introduce internal reporting regulations may expose persons managing the entity to imprisonment for up to three years.
Additional hurdles are piling up for multinational organisations, who are desperately trying to merge whistleblowing procedures to satisfy legislative requirements for each country they operate in. This could be diffcult, since member states have adopted distinctively different approaches to the whistleblowing protection model. In some countries, including Poland, the new whistleblowing protection regime will be applicable only to those who report breaches of EU law, while other member states extended the protection to a larger scope of violations. In addition, it is still unknown if group companies will be able to maintain a single reporting channel for the entire group (especially in cross-border scenarios).
In the proceeding months larger organisations will be forced to closely monitor legislative efforts in all their jurisdictions and adjust internal whistleblowing policies to meet local requirements.
Jeremiasz KuśmierzGGI member firm
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Penteris is a European law firm committed to helping clients keep ahead of the market with a mantra of “getting things done” and “building long-term relations”.
Jeremiasz Kuśmierz is focused on new tech and believes it to be the foundation of future business. His global outlook is highlighted by his participation in multinational deals involving China and Europe. He spreads his work across dispute resolution, employment, compliance, and risk management matters.
Published: Employment Law Newsletter, No.12, Summer 2022l Photo: udmurd - stock.adobe.com