On 15 November 2017, the Italian Parliament approved a law (the Law) which amends some current Italian law provisions in order to introduce the regulation of the whistleblowing in Italy. The Law will enter into force upon publication in the Italian Official Gazette.
Objectives of the Law
The Law aims to protect those public and private sector employees who report misconducts that occur within the work place, and to regulate the employer’s obligations in order to facilitate the whistleblowing process.
The Law was approved by the Italian Deputies Chamber on 15 November 2017 (Bill 3365-B) after almost one year of parliamentary debate and, by amending some current Italian law provisions(1), aims to introduce the regulation regarding whistleblowing which has been applied de facto by several companies (especially multinational ones) without a solid and clear legal framework.
More specifically, the Law identifies and clarifies the following main points:
How to and to whom the employee has to report the misconduct.
The measures to be implemented by the employer in order to protect the whistleblower.
The sanctions applied to the employer in the event of retaliation and/or discrimination of the whistleblower.
Within certain limits, the whistleblower is also entitled to reveal and disclose information covered by confidentiality according to the criminal and civil code.
The Law provides a separate process for public and private sector employees, setting out to whom the employee must report the misconduct and what protection is in place in the event of retaliation or discrimination against the whistle-blower.
In particular, private sector companies adopting the organisational model (set out by the Legislative Decree 8 June 2001, no. 231) must:
identify specific channels to allow employees to report potential misconduct within the work place and to guarantee the confidentiality concerning the identity of the whistleblower; and
provide specific sanctions concerning fraud or gross negligence against any individuals who breach the above-mentioned protection measures; this also applies to any whistleblower who reports false information.
The employee can report any retaliation or discrimination to the National Labour Inspectorate (this can also be carried out through a union representative), and any dismissal, change of duties or any other measure adopted by the employer towards the whistleblower for discriminatory reasons will be null and void.