On 16 April 2019, by a vote of 591-29, the European Parliament approved a new Directive (the “Directive“), designed to provide those individuals who expose corporate wrongdoing and guarantee a high level of protection to such whistle-blowers across a wide range of sectors. Members States will have two years to comply with the provisions, following approval of the draft legislation by EU Ministers.
The Directive seeks to guarantee a high-level of protection for whistle-blowers who report breaches of EU law in a wide range of sectors, including Financial Services, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. Once implemented, all organisations, both public and private, with fifty or more employees or with an annual turnover or total assets of more than €10m will be obligated to set up internal processes for reporting and whistleblowing. The requirements will be mandatory for Financial Services organisations, irrespective of size or turnover.
The Directive sets out a new three-tier reporting system, protection against retaliation against whistleblowing employees by employers and protection in any consequential judicial proceedings. The Directive also expands the definition of “worker” in order to offer protection to a wider group of whistle-blowers.
For a full overview of the Directive, the key differences between its provisions and the current UK legislative framework and its proposed impact following the UK’s departure from the European Union, please see Quinton Newcomb and Farheen Ishtiaq’s interview with LexisNexis UK.