Guide to Whistleblowing

Contributing Editors

In this new age of accountability, organisations around the globe are having to navigate a patchwork of new laws designed to protect those who expose corporate misconduct. IEL’s Guide to Whistleblowing examines what constitutes a protective disclosure, the scope of regulations across 18 countries, and the steps businesses must take to ensure compliance with them.

Learn more about the response taken in specific countries or build your own report to compare approaches taken around the world.

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01. Which body of rules govern the status of whistleblowers?

01. Which body of rules govern the status of whistleblowers?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

The status of whistleblowers is mainly governed by the Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers of the Republic of Lithuania (the Law) and other respective related Acts. They implement Directive 2019/1937 (the Directive) and comply with European standards.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

02. Which companies must implement a whistleblowing procedure?

02. Which companies must implement a whistleblowing procedure?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

The whistleblowing procedure relating to the implementation of an internal channel must be implemented by:

  • state or municipal institutions (with certain exceptions);
  • private legal entities, other organisations, divisions of foreign legal entities or organisations (regardless of the nature of the activity) employing 50 or more employees;
  • private legal entities, other organisations, divisions of foreign legal entities or organisations, whose activity is included in the list of Acts of the European Union and Acts of the Republic of Lithuania, as approved by the minister of justice.
Last updated on 29/07/2022

03. Is it possible to set up a whistleblowing procedure at a Group level, covering all subsidiaries?

03. Is it possible to set up a whistleblowing procedure at a Group level, covering all subsidiaries?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Divisions of private legal entities, other organisations, foreign legal entities or organisations with between 50 and 249 employees may share internal channels, subject to the principle of confidentiality.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

04. Is there a specific sanction if whistleblowing procedures are absent within the Company?

04. Is there a specific sanction if whistleblowing procedures are absent within the Company?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Yes, an administrative fine may be imposed. This may be up to 300 EUR (or up to 500 EUR for repeated infringements) and if the infringement is related to the disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower, the fine may be up to 2,000 EUR (or up to 4,000 EUR if it is a repeated infringement).

Last updated on 29/07/2022

05. Are the employee representative bodies involved in the implementation of this system? 

05. Are the employee representative bodies involved in the implementation of this system? 

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

There is no direct obligation to include employee representatives in the implementation of this system. However, since the employer must inform or consult with the works councils regarding the adoption of certain internal laws, including when they may be relevant to the social and economic situation of employees, the need to inform and consult with the works council can be inferred.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

06. What are the publicity measures of the whistleblowing procedure within the company?

06. What are the publicity measures of the whistleblowing procedure within the company?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Certain concrete information provided by law, such as information on the whistleblowing procedure and the investigation thereof through the company's internal channels; the designated competent body (including its contacts); and the rights and guarantees of the whistleblower must be provided through the institution's internal and external (if any) communication channels. In principle, companies must adopt an internal policy for the reporting of breaches (providing all information required by law) and communicate it.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

07. Should employers manage the reporting channel itself or can it be outsourced?

07. Should employers manage the reporting channel itself or can it be outsourced?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Companies may outsource internal channel administration services to other companies providing such services or external third parties, provided that they ensure that the principles of independence, confidentiality and data protection are observed. Administrative services provided by third parties do not include the investigation of information about the breach and any subsequent decision-making.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

09. What precautions should be taken when setting up a whistleblowing procedure?

09. What precautions should be taken when setting up a whistleblowing procedure?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

When setting up an internal channel for reporting breaches, it is worth considering who will be responsible for its administration, the investigation of information and how the confidentiality of individuals will be protected.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

10. What types of breaches/violations are subject to whistleblowing?

10. What types of breaches/violations are subject to whistleblowing?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

According to the Law, a “breach” means a criminal act, administrative offence, official misconduct or breach of work duties, or a gross violation of the mandatory norms of professional ethics, an attempt to conceal said infringement or any other breach of the law posing a threat or causing harm to the public interest. It is a breach if it has been planned but not implemented, is being committed or has been committed at the company. Whistleblowers may become aware of the breach through his or her present or former service, employment or contractual relationship (eg, counseling, contracting, subcontracting, internships, volunteering) with this company, including through recruitment or another pre-contractual relationship.

The list of areas of breaches is not definitive, which means that it covers all possible areas for the protection of the public interest, not just those listed in article 2(1) of the Directive.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

11. Are there special whistleblowing procedures applicable to specific economic sectors or professional areas?

11. Are there special whistleblowing procedures applicable to specific economic sectors or professional areas?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

No.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

13. Who can be a whistleblower?

13. Who can be a whistleblower?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Please see question 12.

It could be added that “a person who provides information on a breach” is a natural person who provides information about a breach in a company, which he or she learned about from his or her service, employment or contractual (consulting, contracting, subcontracting, internship, traineeship, voluntary activity, etc) relationship with that or during recruitment or other pre-contractual relationship. It may also include a self-employed person who reports the breach, shareholders or members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of the company (including non-executive members, as well as volunteers and paid or unpaid trainees), or any natural person employed by contractors, subcontractors or suppliers.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

14. Are there requirements to fulfil to be considered as a whistleblower?

14. Are there requirements to fulfil to be considered as a whistleblower?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Just the ones described in questions 12 and 13. It also must be assessed whether the notification is made to protect the public interest or if there is a threat to the public interest.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

15. Are anonymous alerts admissible?

15. Are anonymous alerts admissible?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

A person may submit an anonymous report via an internal channel, but in this case, he or she will not be subject to the protection, encouragement and support measures provided for in the Law. Also, for a person who has provided information on the breach to be recognised as a whistleblower by the competent authority, he or she must be identified (ie, the personal data requested in the notification form is necessary for the identification of the person by the competent authority when deciding whether to grant the status of whistleblower).

Last updated on 29/07/2022

16. Does the whistleblower have to be a direct witness of the violation that they are whistleblowing on?

16. Does the whistleblower have to be a direct witness of the violation that they are whistleblowing on?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

The Law does not specifically refer to a “direct witness”, but it may be presumed that the answer is yes.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

17. What are the terms and conditions of the whistleblowing procedure?

17. What are the terms and conditions of the whistleblowing procedure?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Information about the breach can be provided in several ways:

  • through an internal channel at the institution;
  • directly to the competent authority – when there are at least one of the circumstances specifically listed in the Law; and
  • by reporting such information publicly.

When information is provided through an internal channel at the company, the company, not later than two working days from the receipt of the information on the breach, must inform the whistleblower of receipt of the information provided by him or her, and – within 10 working days of the receipt of such information – notify the whistleblower about the progress of the investigation or a decision to refuse to investigate.

When providing information on a breach or notification to the competent authority, the whistleblower will indicate the specific factual circumstances of the breach (what is the breach, who committed it, when it was committed, etc), whether the breach has already been reported and, if yes, who it has been reported to and whether a response has been received, and his or her identifying information, contact details, and other information provided by law. If possible, a whistleblower should attach written or other available data about a breach.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

18. Is there a hierarchy between the different reporting channels?

18. Is there a hierarchy between the different reporting channels?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

No.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

19. Should the employer inform external authorities about the whistleblowing? If so, in what circumstances?

19. Should the employer inform external authorities about the whistleblowing? If so, in what circumstances?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Yes, if the institution that received the information on the breach is not competent to assess this information and if the person who provided the information through the internal channel wishes to be recognised as a whistleblower.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

20. Can the whistleblower be sanctioned if the facts, once verified, are not confirmed or are not constitutive of an infringement?

20. Can the whistleblower be sanctioned if the facts, once verified, are not confirmed or are not constitutive of an infringement?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

The whistleblower will not incur any contractual or non-contractual liability, or liability for the insult of honour and dignity, if he or she reasonably believed the information provided was correct at the time. The whistleblower will be liable for damage caused by the provision of the information only if it is proved that the person could not reasonably believe that the information provided was correct.

Also, the status of “whistleblower” granted to a person may be revoked if the whistleblower has intentionally provided false information in the notification.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

21. What are the sanctions if there is obstruction of the whistleblower?

21. What are the sanctions if there is obstruction of the whistleblower?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

The competent authority will contact the company after finding out that the whistleblower has been adversely affected, emphasising the guarantees applicable to whistleblowers. The competent authority may impose a deadline for the head of the company to remedy the adverse effects.

The whistleblower and other persons named in the Law may apply to the court regarding the consequences of any adverse effects.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

22. What procedure must the whistleblower follow to receive protection?

22. What procedure must the whistleblower follow to receive protection?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Some of the established safeguards will apply automatically; others will apply upon the respective request of the whistleblower.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

23. What is the scope of the protection? 

23. What is the scope of the protection? 

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

Part of the established safeguards apply as soon as the whistleblower provides information (from the moment of receipt), before the status of whistleblower is granted (points 1,2,3 and 8 below), and the other part is applied when the person is already recognised as a whistleblower (points 4,5,6 and 7 below).

The main measures to protect, encourage and support persons who have provided information on breaches are as follows:

  1. securing safe channels for providing information on breaches;
  2. ensuring a person’s confidentiality;
  3. prohibition from adversely affecting a person who has provided information on breaches, (eg, it is prohibited to dismiss an employee for providing such information);
  4. right to remuneration for valuable information;
  5. right to compensation;
  6. ensuring free legal aid;
  7. exemption from liability;
  8. the right to full, impartial information and free consultation on procedures for the provision of information on breaches and the provision of remedies.
Last updated on 29/07/2022

24. What are the support measures attached to the status of whistleblower?

24. What are the support measures attached to the status of whistleblower?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

All measures are listed in question 23. Support could also be recognised as the possibility to receive monetary compensation (ie, remuneration for valuable information and compensation for the negative effects or possible consequences of notification) However, only one of these financial support measures could be applied. In addition, a whistleblower may also be granted, at his or her request, secondary state-guaranteed legal aid under the procedure laid down by law.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

25. What are the risks for the whistleblower if there is abusive reporting or non-compliance with the procedure?

25. What are the risks for the whistleblower if there is abusive reporting or non-compliance with the procedure?

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Lithuania

Lithuania

  • at Ellex Valiunas

If the whistleblower has intentionally provided false information about the breach, the status of “whistleblower” may be revoked. Also, if a person was aware that he or she was providing incorrect information, he or she may incur contractual or non-contractual (delictual, or wrongful conduct) liability, as well as liability for the insult of honour and dignity, defamation. Also, the submission of knowingly false information does not give the person any guarantees under the Law on Protection of Whistleblowers. Such person will be liable under the procedure established by the law.

Last updated on 29/07/2022