A new EU law will require companies and organizations with 50 or more employees to set up internal reporting channels and protect those who file reports with these channels.
The law still needs to receive final approval by EU ministers on September 16th.
"Attitudes to whistleblowers have fundamentally changed," Karin Henriksson, a Founding Partner at WhistleB, a whistleblowing service provider serving hundreds of European companies and authorities since 2011. "The new law recognizes that whistleblowers can play a role in contributing to a more transparent working life and society."
The EU Whistleblower Protection Directive will require organizations to ensure the confidentiality of whistleblowers and anyone mentioned in a report filed through internal reporting channels.
Organizations will also be required to designate an impartial person who can follow up on reports and ask for further information and feedback.
"Experience from customers shows us that anonymity is a decisive factor in encouraging people to blow the whistle," said Henriksson. "Nonetheless, we are happy to see that organisations will for the first time need to provide feedback to the whistleblower and have the option of external reporting clearly available. The whistleblower will have the same protection when reporting externally if the internal reporting fails, for example in the lack of feedback and action by the company."
Reports filed by whistleblowers will have to be acknowledged as received with seven days of being filed and whistleblowers must receive a follow-up to the report within three months. Reports must be accepted both orally and in writing.
EU Member States will have to pass measures to ensure implementation of the directive within two years of its adoption if it receives final approval, making the deadline September 2021.
The decision to allow anonymous whistleblowing will be decided at a national level, but most EU nations are expected to allow it.