Whistleblowing is the term for the act of an employee or former employee exposing illegal, harmful or unethical practices within their employment or organisation. These practices may include, for example, corruption, abuse of power, violations of workers’ rights or harmful impacts on public health and the environment.
The term whistleblowing is based on the English “to blow a whistle”. In a figurative sense, it means a warning of unfair, illegal or unlawful conduct, in short, like a referee whistles fouls in football. It is considered a test of employee trust and the culture of the organization.
It is important for obliged companies not to underestimate the introduction of whistleblowing solutions, both to prevent criminal liability of legal entities, to comply with legal obligations, to strengthen credibility, to protect corporate reputation, but also to prevent potential significant financial damage.
Depending on the size and type of company (in relation to the individual country adaptations of the EU Directive), it is mandatory to establish an internal notification system for employee notification and, in the case of larger companies, to connect an external system. In the Czech Republic, this external system is operated by the Ministry of Justice.
The introduction of the role of the Ombudsman is also essential. Thus, the so-called. “Competent persons”, who are responsible for dealing with individual submissions.
Within the EU, whistle blowers are protected by directives:
Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23. October 2019 on the protection of sources of information in the field of law and justice in the EU,
Directive (EU) 2019/1938 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23. October 2019 on the protection of public health, safety and environmental information sources.
Whistleblowing is an important tool for combating illegal and harmful practices not only within the business sphere, but also (and perhaps especially) in public administration and helps to improve transparency and accountability in these areas.
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