On 7 February 2017 the draft federal law prepared by the Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation updating Federal Law No. 273-FZ on Countering Corruption of 25 December 2008 (the “Draft Law”) was published on the federal portal for draft legal regulatory acts.
The Draft Law establishes a number of legal measures intended to protect people who report corruption (whistleblowers) and who otherwise assist countering corruption. For example, assistance is considered the reporting of additional facts of a corruption offense, provision of information about the location of a wanted person who has committed a corruption offense, and other participation by individuals in the process of detecting, stopping, exposing and investigating a corruption offense. These individuals should report a corruption offense to the employer, prosecution or law enforcement authorities.
The following are proposed legal measures of protection:
- These individuals will be provided with free legal aid by participants of the state free legal aid system (executive authorities, institutions under their jurisdiction, state law offices, and, in some cases, lawyers and notaries, etc.). Legal aid will be provided to these individuals both if they request to prepare a report of a corruption offense and in cases where these individuals’ rights and legal interests were infringed while they were performing their job duties in connection with such a report.
- The information about individuals who reported a corruption offense and information contained in the reports will be kept confidential. The employer or the person providing free legal aid shall ensure that information is kept confidential.
- Protection against wrongful dismissal and other infringements of individuals’ rights and interests while they are performing their job duties, in particular, working hours and time off, the procedure and conditions for granting annual paid vacation, wage payment conditions, etc.
The Draft Law allows for a person to be dismissed, transferred to a different position, or disciplined for breach of discipline within three (3) years after a report only after the issue has been discussed at a meeting of a collective anti-corruption body/commission formed within the company. The Labor Ministry is developing a standard anticorruption commission regulation.
A prosecutor may participate in the commission’s meetings. Materials of the commission’s meeting shall be provided to the prosecutor at least five (5) business days before the commission meets. The minutes of the meeting shall be sent to the prosecutor as soon as the meeting is over. The prosecutor will be obligated to take steps to respond if the commission’s decision recommends that the employer take a decision that may result in infringement of the whistleblower’s rights and legal interests.
The above-mentioned protective measures will not apply to individuals who have been convicted of slander by a court (Article 128.1 of the RF Criminal Code) or of making a deliberately false accusation (Article 306 of the RF Criminal Code) relating to the facts in the report.