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.

Choose countries

 

Choose questions

Choose the questions you would like answering, or choose all for the full picture.

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

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

Flag / Icon

Australia

  • at Lander & Rogers

In addition to the protections afforded to whistleblowers as summarised above (namely, the protection of information or confidentiality), the status of whistleblower can be supported by whistleblower policies. Relevantly, from 1 January 2020, the Corporations Act made it a requirement for all public companies, large proprietary companies and proprietary companies that are trustees of registrable superannuation entities to have a whistleblowing policy.

ASIC's Regulatory Guide 270 provides a handy overview of what should be included in a whistleblower policy. In this regard, the Regulatory Guide notes:

  • in RG 270.40 that the purpose of a whistleblower policy is "to ensure individuals who disclose wrongdoing can do so safely, securely and with confidence that they will be protected and supported"; and
  • in RG.270.11 that, under section 1317AI(5)(c) of the Corporations Act, an entity's whistleblower policy must have information that details how the entity will support whistleblowers and protect them from detriment.  
Last updated on 23/08/2022

Flag / Icon

Belgium

  • at Van Olmen & Wynant

Competent authorities or the federal Institute for the protection and promotion of Human Rights can award support measures to reports, like:

  • comprehensive and independent information and advice on available remedies and procedures;
  • technical advice before any authority associated with the report;
  • legal assistance;
  • support measures;
  • financial assistance in legal proceedings; and
  • assistance with any administrative or judicial authority concerned with protection against retaliation.
Last updated on 01/08/2022

Flag / Icon

Brazil

  • at CGM
  • at CGM
  • at CGM

There are no statutory support measures attached to the status of whistleblower.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon
Croatia

Croatia

  • at Babic & Partners
  • at Babic & Partners

In addition to protection of identity and confidentiality, judicial support, and the right to compensation, whistleblowers have the following support measures: free primary legal aid; the possibility of being granted secondary legal aid; an exemption from the payment of court fees; and emotional support (which will be further defined in a supporting regulation yet to be adopted by the Ministry).

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

France

  • at Proskauer
  • at Proskauer

Many support measures are set up by the law:

  • Courts can allocate provisions for legal expenses to whistleblowers.
  • Moreover, courts can grant temporary financial assistance, at the expense of the opposing party, if the whistleblower's financial situation has seriously deteriorated as a result of the report.
  • French law can attempt to ensure psychological support for whistleblowers.
  • Finally, a labour court could order the company to contribute to the whistleblower’s personal training account (up to 8,000 EUR for low-skilled employees and 5,000 EUR for other employees).
Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

Germany

  • at Oppenhoff
  • at Oppenhoff

At first, the person providing the information may not be subject to legal liability for obtaining or accessing information that he or she has reported or disclosed. This does not apply if the procurement or access as such constitutes an independent criminal offence (section 35 (1) HinSchG-E).

In addition, whistleblowers are protected by a comprehensive prohibition of retaliation. Therefore, any adverse consequences caused by disclosure are prohibited. These include, for example, dismissal, disciplinary measures or salary reductions (section 36 (1) HinSchG-E). Measures that violate the prohibition are void under section 134 of the Civil Code. The prohibition of retaliation is rounded off by a reversal of the burden of proof. According to this, it is presumed that a disadvantage that occurs after a disclosure is retaliation. As a consequence, the person who has disadvantaged the whistleblower has to prove that it is factually justified and was not based on the report or the disclosure (section 36 (2) HinSchG-E).

In addition, the whistleblower is entitled to damages in the event of a violation (section 37(1) HinSchG-E).

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

India

  • at Khaitan & Co
  • at Khaitan & Co

The Whistle Blower Protection Act and Companies Act do not prescribe any support measures to the status of whistleblowers.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

Japan

  • at City-Yuwa
  • at City-Yuwa
  • at City-Yuwa

The business operator is required to take measures to prevent out-of-scope sharing such as:

  • limiting the number of persons who can view and share records and materials related to whistleblowing;
  • clearly confirming the scope of such persons in the internal rules of the business operator; and
  • clarifying the way records related to whistleblowing are kept and accessed in the internal rules of the business operator.

In addition, the business operator is required to take measures to prevent “searching[1]” except in unavoidable circumstances.  An example of the measures to prevent searching is stipulating in the internal rules that searching is not allowed and is subject to disciplinary action or other appropriate measures, and educating and publicising such information[2].

In case of out-of-scope sharing or searching, disciplinary action or other appropriate measures will be taken against workers and officers who do it, by taking into account various circumstances such as the context, the extent of the damage and other circumstances[3].


[1]   “Searching” means the acts of attempting to identify whistleblowers (Consumer Affairs Agency Guidelines, supra note 8, Section 2, at p.2.)

[2]   Consumer Affairs Agency Guidelines Explanation, supra note 3, Section 3 II (2)(ii)(c), at p.15.

[3]   Consumer Affairs Agency Guidelines, supra note 10, Section 4 (2)(ii)(c), at p.3.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon
Latvia

Latvia

  • at Ellex Klavins
  • at Ellex Klavins

The following support measures are provided:

  • legal aid provided by the state;
  • exemption from the payment of court costs in civil proceedings and the payment of a state fee in administrative proceedings before a court;
  • interim relief in civil proceedings and administrative proceedings before the courts;
  • appropriate compensation for damages for loss or personal injury, including moral injury;
  • advice on the protection of their rights; and
  • exemption from the obligation to comply with the out-of-court procedure in administrative proceedings.
Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon
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

Flag / Icon
Luxembourg

Luxembourg

  • at Castegnaro
  • at Castegnaro

The Bill does not specify this point.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon
Nigeria

Nigeria

  • at Bloomfield LP

Apart from the protection guaranteed if the due process of law is followed, there are benefits available to whistleblowers.

  • Whistleblowers who have been subjected to detrimental treatment may present a complaint to the regulatory body regulating the business of his or her employer.
  • Notwithstanding the above, nothing precludes a whistleblower from bringing legal action in a competent court, such as National Industrial Court for employees.  
  • Whistleblowers may be entitled to monetary compensation depending on the whistleblowing policy. For instance, Under the Federal Ministry of Finance whistleblowing programme, a whistleblower responsible for providing the federal government with information that directly leads to the voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets may be entitled to between 2.5% to 5% of the amount recovered.
Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

Portugal

  • at Cuatrecasas
  • at Cuatrecasas

Acts of retaliation against whistleblowers are prohibited; they are entitled to legal protection and can benefit from witness protection measures in criminal proceedings.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

Romania

  • at STALFORT Legal. Tax. Audit.
  • at STALFORT Legal. Tax. Audit.

The law provides for extensive support measures from information and advice received from the Romanian National Integrity Agency to legal aid provided by the local Attorneys Bar, both free of charge. Civil society criticised such shallow support for lacking accompanying norms for the benefit of whistleblowers. Although there were many voices from practice asking for financial incentives for whistleblowers, no such measures have been approved. Also, no rule regarding psychological support, mentioned in article 20 paragraph 2 of the Directive, has been transposed.

Last updated on 16/08/2022

Flag / Icon

Spain

  • at Cuatrecasas
  • at Cuatrecasas
  • at Cuatrecasas

Whistleblowers will be granted certain support measures, according to section 37 of the Draft. For instance, first, they will be informed and advised for free on procedures and resources put in place to ensure their protection against retaliation. Second, they will benefit from assistance regarding protection against retaliation. Third, they will enjoy monetary and psychological assistance in exceptional cases if the Independent Authority for the Protection of Whistleblowers deems it adequate.

All of them, irrespective of the free legal aid foreseen under Law 1/1996.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

Sweden

  • at Lindahl
  • at Lindahl
  • at Lindahl

The competent authorities are responsible for providing easily accessible information on the advice and support offered by the authority and other parties.

Last updated on 02/08/2022

Flag / Icon

United Kingdom

  • at Proskauer
  • at Proskauer
  • at Proskauer

There are no specific “support measures” outside of the legal protection under UK whistleblowing laws (outlined in question 23).  However, the UK whistleblowing charity Protect operates a free, confidential whistleblowing advice line.

Last updated on 29/07/2022

Flag / Icon

United States

  • at Proskauer
  • at Proskauer

Several governmental entities maintain websites containing various resources for whistleblowers, including information about the relevant legal protections, the procedures for filing complaints, and answers to frequently asked questions. These include the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, OSHA, the ARB, and the IRS.

Last updated on 29/07/2022