A new report released by Transparency International (TI) said most European Union nations offer whistleblowers little to no protection from retaliation from their employers.
The report found that only four of 27 countries surveyed had adequate whistleblower protections in place, with 16 of them having “partial” protections from retaliation.
The four countries offering substantive protections are Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. In those countries, a corporate or government employee who discloses serious fraud or wrongdoing would receive legal protection from retaliatory action taken by their employer, such as dismissal or harassment.
Seven countries have either no protections in place or have ones considered “severely inadequate.” Such inadequacy manifested itself As TI notes, this is despite the fact that all but two of the 27 EU nationa have signed onto the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which includes the requirement to consider implementing whistleblower protections to encourage the reporting of crimes by one’s employer.
The laws deemed inadequate by TI are ones vaguely written, containing loopholes, lacking confidentiality guarantees or protections from defamation claims or offering no methods for whistleblowers to disclose their claims. As the report points out, inadequate legal protections can act as a deterrent for those would have served as tipsters, helping to prevent or curb a range of tragedies that affect scores of people.
The European Parliament has requested that the Eupropean Commission move forward with proposed legislation for an EU-wide whistleblower-protection law by the end of the year. The Commission has indicated is will not move foward with it at this point.
TI’s Watchdog Group recognizes its 20th anniversary last week. As part of the week-long celebration, the group argued for the development of strong whistleblower protections for both government and corporate employees.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog. She can be reached here.