Our recommendations

Our recommendations to protect Whistleblowers in Europe

1. Horizontal approach

Wrongdoing in the public interest occurs in all sectors. A sectoral approach fosters inequality, and selected crimes will remained uncovered. An EU Directive needs to include a broad range of reportable wrongdoing, and allow employees in all sectors to report misconduct in the workplace without suffering disadvantages.

2. Guidelines on disclosure channels

Clear guidelines regulating channels of disclosure are important preconditions to protect the interests of the whistleblower as well as the concerned institution. The introduction of internal whistleblowing systems should be mandatory, and the systems should be set up and communicated in a way that encourages employees to come forward.Standards have to be set up which regulate external reporting if internal whistleblowing is not possible. Circumstances allowing external reporting have to be clearly defined.

3. Oversight

To make sure the matters of whistleblowers are represented in an appropriate way, the introduction of a centralized oversight institution is highly recommended. Ideally, investigations as well as support for whistleblowers are handled within a national whistleblowing agency under the supervision of a European oversight institution.

4. Support

The establishment of a support mechanism before and after the fact constitutes an important element to protect whistleblowers from suffering disadvantages. First, reporting persons can make sure that they are following rocedures appropriately. Secondly, they have to be able to rely on financial as well as psychological help in cases of retaliation.

5. Anonymous reporting

In some cases, even existing legal provisions cannot protect whistleblowers from harm. Thus, anonymous reports have to befollowed up on just as any other disclosure. At any rate, anonymous disclosures cannot be criminalized.

6. Protection from and remedies for retaliation

Reporting persons cannot suffer any disadvantage for disclosing wrongdoing in the public interest. In case they are being retaliated against, they should have the right to compensation, just like victims of discrimination or other
violations of personal rights.

7. Penalties for retaliators

Retaliation against whistleblowers should be considered a criminal offense, as it serves as a deterrent. Additionally, fines for retaliators can in practice be used to provide support to the victims of retaliation.

8. Whistleblowing in the national security and intelligence services 

Special regulations have to be designed for employees in the national security and intelligence services.