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Whistleblowing and self-reporting
Are whistleblowers protected in your jurisdiction?
Since the European Court of Human Rights convicted Germany in 2011 for unduly restricting a whistleblower´s freedom of expression, several legislative proposals have been presented. Nevertheless, the German legal system still does not provide proper and comprehensive protection. While the current labour law requires employees to take their suspicion of wrongdoing to their superiors before going to the authorities, not even large companies are forced to establish a whistleblower hotline or to appoint an ombudsman. Furthermore, a whistleblower may be faced with retributive measures or termination of his or her employment contract if his or her suspicion turns out to be unfounded.
Is it common for leniency to be shown to organisations that self-report and/or cooperate with authorities? If so, what process must be followed?
In general, judges make use of their discretion to reduce criminal sentences, depending on the company´s cooperation. The prosecutor may also reduce the requested sentencing.
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