In October 2019, in the wake of a number of whistleblower revelations (especially the industrial-scale tax avoidance schemes revealed in the LuxLeaks scandal), the European Union adopted the Whistleblower Directive. Its main purpose is to protect employees from employer retaliation when they report breaches of Union law. All forms of employer retaliation are prohibited, with the burden of proof falling on the employer. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the legislation still depends to a large part on how it is transposed into national law and the extent to which it becomes integrated into company culture.
In this Guide, CMS compares not just how the directive has been implemented in each EU country, but the broader legal situation on whistleblower protection and requirements for reporting channels across Austria and CEE/SEE. Our concern is to help international companies put measures and systems in place to ensure that they have ways of sensitively addressing their employees’ concerns about alleged wrongdoing without exposing themselves to the unnecessary risks of litigation.
The CMS Expert Guide to Whistleblower Protection and Reporting Channels will help you to find the answers to the following pressing questions:
- Is there a law on whistleblowing in your country?
- Does local law require private entities to establish a whistleblowing system? (If so, which private entities?)
- What legal risks does an entity face for not establishing a whistleblowing system?
- Are there any mandatory requirements for establishing a whistleblowing system under local labour law?
- Does local law require employee involvement when establishing a whistleblowing system?
- Does local law prohibit employees to disclose irregularities/misconduct externally, e.g. to the public?
- Is there legal protection aimed at preventing discrimination against or dismissal of a whistleblower (as employee) under local labour law?
- Are there any mandatory requirements and/or accompanying measures under local data protection law?
- Does local law prohibit a joint whistleblowing system of various entities in different jurisdictions?