In a previous Law-Now Alert, we mentioned the introduction in Poland of provisions in the draft law on transparency in public life aimed at protecting whistleblowers. The proposed changes aim to encourage people with knowledge of irregularities, including business people, to disclose them without fear of losing their job or contract with a client.
A prosecutor can give the status of whistleblower to persons who report corruption related to their employer or client. The prosecutor will refuse to give whistleblower status if the information provided does not give grounds to initiate criminal investigation (for example, because there is no reliable evidence or a lack of grounds to consider the behaviour a crime). This condition is aimed at preventing abuse.
According to the draft act, an employer or client will not be able to terminate or change a contract with a whistleblower without the prosecutor’s consent for the duration of the proceedings and for one year after they end. In the event of a breach of the prohibition, the whistleblower will be able to claim damages equal to twice the annual salary (in the case of an employee) or the amount equal to the total payment resulting from an unduly terminated or amended contract (contractor).
If the perpetrator is convicted of a corruption offence, the draft provides for the possibility for the court to award compensation to the whistleblower or his/her business (up to PLN 100,000).