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Protecting Whistleblowers

We commit to adopt measures to ensure the protection of persons reporting corruption against retaliatory measures which might be taken against them by their employer.

Country: France

Status: complete

Themes: Whistleblower/civil society space protection

Last updated: December 2020


Concrete: Somewhat Concrete | New: Not New | Ambitious: Ambitious

  • 2 Evidence:

    Sapine II

    DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/… OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of … on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law

  • 3 Notes:

    By setting up a legal framework creating a legal status for whistle-blowers and organizing their protection in case of retaliation, the Sapin 2 has marked an unprecedented step forward for the protection of persons reporting corruption.

    One must, nevertheless, note that over the last four years in France, according to information available from public sources, no scandal of corruption has been made public knowledge thanks to a whistle-blower. One explanation is that whistle-blowers do not feel sufficiently protected to blow the whistle.

    In October 2019, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a directive on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. France has to transpose this text before December 2021. It will be the opportunity to strengthen and simplify French national protection system for whistle-blowers and to improve its current framework based on the law “Sapin 2”.

    The European directive on the protection of whistle-blowers ends the obligation to report internally before turning to the authorities. The aim is to encourage companies to put in place effective and safe internal reporting procedures in order to effectively protect whistle-blowers and incite them to blow the whistle internally.

    Updated: October 31, 2020

    Chapter 2 of the Sapin 2 law ensures protection and repair or criminal sanctions against the perpetrators of reprisals. Reporting schemes must ensure a strict confidentiality of the identity of the whistle-blower, the identity of the person on which the report is made and the information collected. The disclosure of these elements is sanctioned by up to two years of imprisonment and a €30,000 fine. It is also prohibited to discriminate against whistle-blowers, in the hiring process, from the access to an internship or professional courses or even in terms of assignment, salary or else. Measures contravening such principles are susceptible of being declared null and void and reparations must be ensured (reinstatement and/or assess damages), also abuse of legal process (defamation) are sanctionned with a €30,000 fine. Interfering with the transmission of a report to the employer, the courts or authorities is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a €15,000 fine.

    Updated: October 30, 2019

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