Many European countries have only partial legal protections for whistleblowers. Here is a country-by-country overview.
Note: The new EU Whistleblowing Directive 2019 introduces minimum standards for the protection of whistleblowers and obliges many public and private entities to introduce their own internal whistleblowing channels. EU countries are required to transpose the directive by December 2021.
Below you will find a detailed overview of whistleblowing legislation in the individual EU countries.
There is currently no legal obligation for companies and organisations to set up whistleblowing systems; it is however a common place and whistleblowers are generally expected to report internally first. A whistleblower protection law was introduced in 2016 and a new proposal to transpose the EU Whistleblower Directive was brought forward in June 2020 that replaces this law. This proposal states that the whistleblowing law should not be limited to reported breaches of EU law, but also include information on breaches of Swedish law. The whistleblower should be free to choose whether to first report through an internal reporting channel or to report directly through an external reporting channel (not including the media).
In November 2020 the public consultation on the draft to implement the EU Directive has ended.
Last updated: 15/03/2021
In the UK only organisations regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or within the National Health Service are obliged to establish whistleblowing channels. So far the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) protects whistleblowers from detrimental treatment by their employer. Apart from that, a bill was presented to Parliament in late January 2020 which should entitle workers to further protection against protects workers from detriment and dismissal (including being selected for redundancy). Detriment is not defined in the legislation, but it might include threats, disciplinary action, loss of work or pay, damage to career prospects or suspension.
In Northern Ireland, whistleblowers are only protected from victimisation if they are a worker (employees, agency workers and trainees), they reveal information of the right type by making what is known as a ‘qualifying disclosure’ (in the public interest and concerning past, current or future malpractice) and they reveal it to the right person, and in the right way making it a ‘protected disclosure’.
Last updated: 13/08/2020
Disclaimer: This blog article is for non-binding general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. All offered information is without guarantee or liability for correctness and completeness.