What is a whistleblower?
Whistleblowers are persons who uncover unethical behavior or grievances. They publish important information from a secret or protected context. This includes grievances or criminal offenses that the whistleblowers learn about within a company, but also outside of it. This refers to crimes such as corruption, insider trading, data misuse, general dangers, etc.
Protection of whistleblowers through internal reporting system
On October 23, 2019, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the so-called Whistleblower Directive (2019/1937). It serves to protect persons who report violations of European Union law. This includes, for example, consumer and data protection, public procurement, the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, and much more. Therefore, whistleblowers must be able to make reports securely and confidentially. Accordingly, a reporting system must be set up on a mandatory basis. An anonymous mailbox, for example, can serve as an internal reporting channel.
What is an anonymous mailbox?
An anonymous mailbox allows confidential data to be communicated easily and securely via an anonymous data exchange. The identity of the whistleblower remains protected as far as possible.
To whom and from when does the Whistleblower Directive apply in Austria, Germany and the EU?
In principle, the Whistleblower Directive has applied since December 17, 2021, to all companies within the European Union with more than 249 employees as well as cities and municipalities with 10,000 inhabitants or more. But also companies that are owned or controlled by the latter. There is a two-year transition period for companies with between 50 and 249 employees. With the exception of Sweden and Denmark, all member states are behind schedule with the implementation. For Austria, the Ministry of Labor is currently drafting a corresponding law (source in German: standard.at
). In Germany, a first draft law failed in April 2021, because the grand coalition was unable to reach an agreement. The so-called traffic light government is already working on a resumption (source in German: Haufe.de