What Does Directive 2019/1937 about Whistleblower Protection require?
By BeSignal | 20 December 2021 | Article
October 23, 2019, marked the promulgation of Directive 2019/1937 in favor of whistleblowers by the European Union (EU). Prior to this, the protective system for these individuals across the EU, including the Sapin 2 law, had significant gaps. Let's delve deeper into this European directive that's the center of many ongoing discussions and debates.
A Brief on Directive 2019/1937
Given the inadequacies of existing national systems, such as France's Sapin 2 law, Directive 2019/1937 introduced new standards to bolster the protection of whistleblowers within EU member states. Reporting breaches of EU law had been a cumbersome task fraught with hurdles. But which whistleblowers will now benefit from broader protection under this directive? And what are the current procedures for reporting?
Aiming to expand the protection of whistleblowers across the EU, Directive 2019/1937 doesn't mandate a centralized system, contrary to initial interpretations. Key takeaways include:
- The directive addresses alerts regarding various types of breaches in community law (public procurement, financial services, product safety and compliance, transport safety, environmental protection, to name a few).
- EU businesses and public entities have until December 17, 2021, to implement a personalized internal alert policy for each subsidiary with over 250 employees. All employees should be able to raise concerns at both subsidiary and group levels. By 2023, entities with at least 50 employees will have to follow suit.
- Entities must shield whistleblowers from all forms of retaliation and discrimination, be it dismissal, suspension, demotion, or other forms, irrespective of their status (employees, ex-employees, suppliers, external consultants).
- Each member state must create its reporting channels ensuring the whistleblower's anonymity, the process's confidentiality, and proper penalties for breaches or obstructions.
- Entities with at least 50 employees should establish reporting channels and procedures.
- Group or individual companies with 50 to 249 employees can pool resources.
What's the Verdict as the Deadline Nears?
Several aspects of Directive 2019/1937 remain debated. The path to conformity appears long, with some member states opting for a centralized system, others aligning their existing legislation with the directive, and businesses advocating for a centralized alert system. In the interim, whistleblowers must rely on the current protective systems, with their strengths and shortcomings.
BeSignal: Compliant with Directive 2019/1937
A leader in France serving over 200 private and public clients, BeSignal offers a white-label alert platform that's in line with Directive 2019/1937. Accessible via a web browser, it's operational in just five days.