Employment & labor law /

Implementation of the “Whistleblower Protection Directive” and the new ISO standard on Whistleblowing

December 17, 2021 is the deadline for the implementation of Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 23, 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (hereinafter: Directive 2019/1937), and although the Polish legislator has not yet introduced a legal solution to implement the provisions of the aforementioned Directive, it should be noted that Employers will still be subject to the obligations set out in Directive 2019/1937, because the Court of Justice of the European Union may decide that if Directive 2019/1937 is not implemented on time, it will be directly applicable until a national law is introduced.

Therefore, entities obliged to implement and apply procedures related to the protection of Whistleblowers should ensure that appropriate procedures are introduced at workplaces in advance. It should be remembered that from December 17, 2021 the above mentioned obligation was imposed on entities that employ more than 250 people, and in the case of entities employing 50-249 employees, this obligation must be fulfilled by December 17, 2023. The aforementioned limits do not apply to entities operating in areas exposed to money laundering or terrorist financing, which are obliged to implement the provisions of Directive 2019/1937 and apply appropriate procedures regardless of the number of employees.

Undoubtedly, new standard ISO 37002 Whistleblowing management systems – Guidelines, which was published in July 2021, may be helpful for those obliged to implement a system related to the protection of Whistleblowers. This document provides general guidelines for establishing, implementing and maintaining an effective whistleblowing management system, based on the principles of trust, impartiality and protection, consisting of the following four steps:

a) receiving reports of wrongdoing,

b) assessing reports of wrongdoing,

c) addressing reports of wrongdoing,

d) concluding whistleblowing cases.

The ISO guidelines are applicable to all organizations, regardless of type, size, nature of activity, and regardless of whether the entity is in the public, private or non-profit sector.

Issues related to the above mentioned Directive, Whistleblowers protection, or the procedure of reporting irregularities or violations of the law are wider discussed in the article of May 20, 2021 |(https://www.dudkowiak.com/blog/labor-law-basic-elements-of-the-compliance-policy-in-the-workplace.-part-2-whistleblowing.html).

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