Whistleblower protection: new for employers

Whistleblower protection: new for employers

Whistleblower protection: new for employers 550 240 Exponens International

Whistleblower protection: new for employers

Publié le 12 September 2022
News

As of September 1st, 2022, various new measures strengthen the protection of whistleblower employees.

Whistleblowers are mostly employees or ex-employees who, without financial compensation and in good faith, reveal illegal or dangerous practices that take place in the organization where they work or worked. In France, since the so-called “SAPIN(1) 2” Act adopted in 2016, they have been recognized and protected.

In addition, as of January 1st, 2018, companies with at least fifty employees must have a procedure to collect reports made by their employees as well as external and temporary workers.

The new law (which came into effect on September 1st, 2022) reinforces the protection of whistleblowers, expands the legal protection to more beneficiaries, requires employers to inform their employees about their rights and to update their internal regulations.

Who is a whistleblower?

The new law amends the existing definition. Thus, as of September 1st, 2022, a whistleblower is defined as “a natural person who reports or reveals, without direct financial compensation and in good faith, a crime, misdemeanor, threat or harm to the public interest, a breach or an attempted concealment of a breach of an international commitment duly ratified or approved by France (as well as a breach or an attempted concealment of a breach of) a unilateral act of an international organization taken on the basis of such a commitment, European Union law, law or regulation”.

Furthermore, those who (employees, former employees, candidates for employment, external and temporary workers, members of board of directors, contracting parties, subcontractors, etc.) reveal information reported to them by others during their professional activities are also regarded as whistleblowers.

What protection for whistleblowers?

Whistleblowers are protected against retaliatory measures of their employers (dismissal, demotion, change of workplace, harassment, discrimination, etc.).

This protective status now applies mainly to:- facilitators, i.e., natural persons who helps a whistleblower to report or reveal the crime, misdemeanor, etc. which harm the public interest…- natural persons (colleagues or relatives of the whistleblower) who may be subject to reprisals during their professional activities by their employer or customer.


Note: The employer who terminates the employment contract of a whistleblower can now be ordered by the Industrial Tribunal to pay into the employee’s personal training account an amount of € 8,000.

Internal regulations to be updated

The internal regulations of companies with at least fifty employees must state that whistleblowers are protected by law, without necessarily reproducing the terms of legal rules applicable thereof, even if the law requires the reproduction of the terms of legal rules in other areas such as employees’ defense, psychological and sexual harassment at work and gender-based violence.


(1) Law named after the then Economy and Finance Minister, Michel SAPIN.

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