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Local legislation on whistleblowing

In the European Union, whistleblower protection is regulated by Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (“EU Whistleblowing Directive”). This Directive lays down common minimum standards for the protection of persons reporting the following breaches of Union law:

  1. breaches falling within the scope of the Union acts set out in the Annex that concern the following areas: (i) public procurement; (ii) financial services, products and markets, and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing; (iii) product safety and compliance; (iv) transport safety; (v) protection of the environment; (vi) radiation protection and nuclear safety; (vii) food and feed safety, animal health and welfare; (viii) public health; (ix) consumer protection; (x) protection of privacy and personal data, and security of network and information systems;  
  2. breaches affecting the financial interests of the Union as referred to in Article 325 TFEU and as further specified in relevant Union measures;  
  3. breaches relating to the internal market, as referred to in Article 26(2) TFEU, including breaches of Union competition and State aid rules, as well as breaches relating to the internal market in relation to acts which breach the rules of corporate tax or to arrangements the purpose of which is to obtain a tax advantage that defeats the object or purpose of the applicable corporate tax law.



In Belgium, the EU Whistleblowing Directive is transposed into Belgian legislation by the Act of 28 November 2022 “On the protection of whistleblowers of breaches of Union or national law established within a legal entity in the private sector” which came into effect on 15 February 2023. 

On top of the concerns provided in the EU Whistleblowing Directive, Belgian law additionally protects Whistleblowers reporting on tax fraud and social fraud.



In France, the legal regime applicable to whistleblowers was initially provided for by the law of December 9, 2016, known as "Sapin II," before being amended by the law of March 21, 2022, known as "Waserman," aimed at strengthening the protection of whistleblowers. 

The latter transposes EU Whistleblowing Directive, and adapt the limits of the national legislation in force.

Furthermore, Article 6 of the December 9, 2016 law, as amended by the "Waserman" law, broadens the definition of whistleblowers by conditioning the granting of this status on the cumulative criteria of:

  • being a natural person;
  • having reported or disclosed information about reprehensible acts as detailed below;
  • having blown the whistle without benefiting from direct financial compensation;
  • acting in good faith.

According to the same article, the reprehensible acts that may be the subject of reporting or disclosure under the legislation governing the status of whistleblowers are as follows:

  • a crime or an offense;
  • a threat or harm to the public interest;
  • a violation or an attempt to conceal a violation of:
    • an international commitment regularly ratified or approved by France
    • a unilateral act of an international organization based on such a commitment
    • European Union law
    • the law or regulations.

 For more information, please consult the law of March 21, 2022, known as "Waserman".



In Germany, the EU Whistleblowing Directive is transposed into local legislation by the Whistleblower Protection Act, known as “Hinweisgeberschutzgeset”, published on the Federal Law Gazette on the 2 June 2023. 

On top of the areas covered under the EU Whistleblowing Directive, the German Whistleblower Protection Act makes reporting possible also for cases of:

  • Any penal provision under German law;
  • Breaches of the regulations that protect life, health, and the rights of employees or their representative bodies. 
  • Statements by civil servants that represent a violation of their constitutional obligations to remain loyal to the oaths made to the German Constitution;
  • Both illegal and lawful actions or omissions, if they contradict the aim of the regulations in the areas of law;
  • All violations of federal and state legal regulations and directly applicable EU legal acts.

There are several other legal provisions to protect whistleblowers in private sector, including but not limited to: 

Section 17 (2) of the Act on Occupational Safety and Health (§ 17 Abs. 2 ArbSchG - Arbeitsschutzgesetz) grants protection to whistleblowers. Employees can contact the competent authority if they are of the opinion that specific measures to guarantee workplace safety and/or health protection are not sufficient. The employees may suffer no disadvantages as a result.

Pursuant to section 13 (1) of the General Equal Treatment Act (§ 13 Abs. 1 AGG - Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz), employees have a right to appeal in the event of discrimination.

Section 84 of the Works Constitution Act (§ 87 BetrVG - Betriebsverfassungsgesetz) also provides for a right of appeal for employees.

Whistleblowers are also protected by general legal provisions on termination under Protection Against Dismissal Act (KSchG - Kündigungsschutzgesetz), developed by case law originating from the European Court of Human Rights – EctHR (Europäischer Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte - EGMR).

In addition, section 612a of the German Civil Code (§ 612a BGB - Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) can protect the whistleblower against reprisals by the employer: the employer may not discriminate against any employee for exercising their rights in a permissible manner.

The Section 5 (2) of the Trade Secret Protection Law (§ 5 Abs. 2 GeschGehG - Gesetz zum Schutz von Geschäftsgeheimnissen) grants whistleblowers protection from prosecution and civil liabilities due to disclosure of business secrets if this uncovers unlawful actions or professional or other misconduct and is suited to protect the general public interest.



There is no specific whistleblowing law in Poland and the EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law is not yet transposed into Polish law. 

Legislation relating to whistleblowers operates mainly in the financial sector. 

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) has implemented a program intended for people who wish to notify the state authorities of actions that infringe or threaten the interest of the competition rules, by: 

  • misleading designation of a business; 
  • false or fraudulent indication of the geographical origin of goods or services; 
  • misleading designation of goods or services; 
  • violation of business secrets; inducement to terminate or not to perform a contract; 
  • imitation of products; slander or unfair praise; 
  • obstruction of market access; 
  • bribery of a person holding a public office; 
  • unfair or prohibited advertising; 
  • organisation of an avalanche sales system whereby buyers of goods or services are promised material benefits in exchange for inducing others to make the same transactions ; 
  • running or organising a consortium system defined as a business activity consisting of the management of property pooled within a group with consumers, formed to finance the purchase of a product for the benefit of the participants in the group; 
  • and unjustified extension of payment periods for goods or services provided.


Persons reporting the wrongdoing under the OCCP procedure can get protection, if they act in good faith and in the so-called public interest.

The protection of employees against retaliation by employer can be based on the general provisions of the Labour Code of 26 June 1974 concerning protection against dismissal, deterioration of work conditions or discrimination.



There is no specific law on whistleblowing in Turkey and it is not mandatory for Turkey to implement the EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. However, there are several legal provisions to protect whistleblowers under various laws.

As Turkey is a party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, according to the article 33 the whistleblowers are protected when they report facts to the official authorities related to the offences established in accordance with this Convention. 

As a party to the OECD Convention & Guidelines, Turkey commits to fight against wrongdoing and to refrain from discriminatory or disciplinary action against employees who make reports to management or to the competent public authorities, on practices that violate the law, the Guidelines or the company’s policies. 

According to the article 5 of the Termination of Employment Convention (No. 158) by the International Labour Organization, the filing of a complaint or the participation in proceedings against an employer involving alleged violation of laws or regulations or recourse to competent administrative authorities does not constitute valid reasons for termination. The same protection is also established under the article 18 of the Labour Law no. 4857

There is a similar protection under the article 396 of the Turkish Code of Obligations no.6098 for the employees who report any wrongdoing as an obligation to work diligently and act loyally in protecting legitimate interests of their employer.

The Occupational Health and Safety Law no. 6331 provides protection under the article 8 for the workplace doctors and occupational health and safety specialists who report an event of non-compliance with the employer’s safety measures. It is not possible to terminate the employment agreement of such persons or treat them differently due to their reporting which is an obligation under this Law. 

According to the articles 278-284 of the Turkish Criminal Law no. 5237 it is an obligation for the persons to report an offense and failure to do so constitutes penalties. The law provides protection for persons that report crimes for bribery and money laundering as those persons will not be subject to any punishment helping the law enforcement bodies.



In South Africa, the Protected Disclosures Act  26 of 2000, makes provision for procedures in terms of which employees in both the public and private sector who disclose information of unlawful or corrupt conduct by their employers or fellow employees, are protected from occupational detriment.

Under this Act, whistleblowers are protected when reporting a concern or information on the following:

(a) When a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed;

(b) when a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which that person is subject;

(c) when a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur;

(d) when the health or safety of an individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered;

(e) when the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged;

(f) unfair discrimination as contemplated in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Act No.4 of 2000); or

(g) when any matter referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f) has been, is being or is likely to be deliberately concealed.

For more details, we refer to the Protect Disclosures Act 26 of 2000.

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