Managers at the forefront of whistleblower protection

CEC European Managers welcomes the Commission’s directive proposal on whistleblower protection. As it had stated in its response to the consultation, the establishment of internal reporting procedures in companies, as well as external channels to ‘blow the whistle’ constitute an important improvement for managers in the public or private sector who report abuses of EU law.

It will protect whistleblowers against dismissal, demotion and other forms of retaliation and requires national authorities to inform citizens and provide training for public authorities on how to deal with whistleblowing. At the same time, CEC remains very sensitive to the issue of confidentiality and the protection of the interests of businesses relying on the cooperation and discretion of their management, who are often asked to deal with highly sensitive information.

Because of their role and responsibilities in ensuring that company “behavior” is consistent with public and business policies, managers have a primary position in identifying potential internal misconducts. The three tier reporting system incentivises internal reporting first, opens administrative channels to communicate illegal or suspicious activities and includes the possibility of disclosing information publicly as the last resort. For CEC, the package represents a balanced mix that takes account of both business and public interest.

The directive foresees protection in the fields of public procurement; financial services, money laundering and terrorist financing; product safety; transport safety; environmental protection; nuclear safety; food and feed safety, animal health and welfare; public health; consumer protection; privacy, data protection and security of network and information systems. It also applies to breaches of EU competition rules, violations and abuse of corporate tax rules and damage to the EU’s financial interests. For private companies, internal reporting procedures would be required from 50 employees or 10 million Euro of turnover onward.