Shortcomings in Hungary's whistleblower law

Hungarian lawmakers attracted widespread attention in 2014 when they passed a new whistleblower law in 2014. Upon close inspection, however, the Act on Complaints and Public Interest Disclosures provides poor protections for employees and citizens who report crime and corruption.

Such laws can serve as a trap for people who think they will protected after disclosing sensitive information – only to learn they have no legal recourse if they are fired, harassed, sued or prosecuted.

Among its shortcomings, Hungary’s law:
lacks specific remedies for victimized whistleblowers to be reinstated or compensated
bans retaliation but lacks the means to protect whistleblowers from reprisals, criminal prosecution and civil actions
does not provide a full range of disclosure channels
does not require results of investigations to be released to the public
does not require workplace retaliation and harassment to be investigated and remedied

According to Coalition member K-Monitor, a Budapest-based NGO that specializes in anti-corruption and citizen participation, Hungary’s Ombudsman often forwards reports and complaints to the very same ministry or agency that is responsible for the misconduct. This lowers the chance that reports will be objectively and thoroughly investigated, and that guilty parties will be held to account.