The European Union Proposes New Regulations to Protect Whistleblowers
Soon, people blowing the whistle on fraud, tax evasion, data breaches, and more in the EU will have greater protections under the law. European Commission proposed the new regulations amid criticism over transparency and the lack of protection for whistleblowers.
The members of the European Commission hope the proposal will encourage more people to bring wrongdoing to light. They say the new rules will require companies to set up internal channels for whistleblowers. The proposal will also shield them from firings and demotions as well as a new safeguard against abusive reports.
“There should be no punishment for doing the right thing,” Commission Vice President Francs Timmermans told U.S News and World Report. He also added that the new proposals will help journalists better investigate incidents and ensure freedom of expression.
Within the proposal, the European Commission cited an example of two former accounting firm whistleblowers. In 2016, they were prosecuted for leaking data about Luxembourg’s tax deals with large corporations. The conviction was later overturned.
The Commission said they hope legal retaliation like that will be prevented. They also hope that illegal activity involving financial services, money laundering, nuclear safety, food safety, privacy, and data protection will be brought to light.
Reaction to the Proposals
Transparency International called the proposal “bold” and a step in the right direction toward recognizing “the importance and rights of informants.”
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said increasing whistleblower protection will be good for businesses.
The proposal needs approval from EU countries and the European Parliament before it can become law. Right now, only 10 EU countries offer protection for whistleblowers.
To learn more about recent updates to whistleblower protection or to report suspected fraud, contact Newman & Shapiro today!