83,080 of 100,000 signatures

European Commission

Petition

Whistleblowers in the EU must be protected!
We call on you to urgently propose an EU-wide legislation on the protection of whistleblowers acting in the public interest, and extending the protection to a broad scope of groups and areas of activities in the private and public sectors.

Why is this important?

When Antoine Deltour,  the then 28-year-old working at PricewaterhouseCoopers accidentally found evidence of a massive-scale corporate tax evasion facilitated by Luxembourg, he blew the whistle. The scandal exposed by Antoine, known as LuxLeaks, helped put corruption and tax-avoidance on EU’s political agenda.

Antoine is a hero - and whistleblowers like him, brave enough to sound the alarm and warn us of corporate violations, must be protected from retaliation and prosecution. Instead, a court convicted Antoine of stealing trade secrets. [1] While he’s paying the high price for standing up to corporate greed, not even one of the tax-evading firms has faced repercussions.

Whistleblowers like Antoine are essential to keeping powerful corporations and our governments accountable. Whistleblowing can save lives, the environment and money.

Still today, only 5 EU member states have dedicated whistleblower protection - and this is why we urgently need an EU-level law. Without it, whistleblowers will keep paying the steep price for speaking up: sacrificing their career, reputation, freedom and anonymity. Our freedom of expression and right to information must count for more than corporate interests, and blowing the whistle must not be punished, but protected!

The European Commission has the power to propose new strong whistleblower protection in Europe

If thousands of people across Europe raise our voices in solidarity with whistleblowers, we can influence the shape of an EU law which could change the lives of many brave people such as Antoine. Join us in demanding that the EU protects whistleblowers from retaliation and revenge by those who’d rather keep their shady dealings secret. Take action now!

References

[1] #LuxLeaks appeal verdict: tax justice heroes convicted again, http://www.taxjustice.net/2017/03/15/luxleaks-appeal-verdict-tax-justice-heroes-convicted/

This petition is run in partnership with Eurocadres


Please can you chip in?

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Next step - spread the word

Thank you for taking action!

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The European Commission is currently running a public consultation on Public consultation on the European citizens' initiative.


To show the strong support for an EU-wide whistleblower protection and our solidarity with those who raise the alarm, we need as many responses as possible from EU citizens just like you.
Please, can you take a few minutes to speak up for whistleblowers? Below you can find our simple guidelines on how to fill in the form and some suggested replies to key questions. Remember, the Commission wants to know what you think, and if you’re hesitating, think about how many people's lives could be touched by this policy.

How to fill in the form?

  • It will take about 10 minutes of your time to fill the full form.
  • You can fill in the form in any of the official EU languages.
  • If you can, use your desktop computer or a laptop to fill the consultation, and open the consultation in a new tab - just click the button below!
  • There are only a few mandatory questions (e.g. about you: are you an individual, employer or employee, etc. The form will ask for your name, but you can also mark your submission as anonymous). You can submit the form without all answers and it will still be valid.
  • Below you will find suggestions on how to fill the form, but feel free to use your judgement when you hesitate!
  • The dot signifies how important a question is, from 1: very important to 4 not important, and 5. means I don’t know.
  • For questions about your national context, we don’t suggest answers, because we think you know them better.


Here are the suggested replies to the consultation:

Perceptions and opinions on whistleblower protection

  • Do not know how/where to report
  • Threat or harm to the public interest difficult to prove
  • No action will be taken to remedy the wrongdoing
  • Fear of legal consequences
  • Fear of financial consequences
  • It would be an act of disloyalty
  • It would be a breach of professional privilege
  • Negative attitudes towards whistleblowers
  • Fear of bad reputation
  • Other
  • Strengthen compliance with the law by public authorities and businesses
  • Strengthen freedom of expression
  • Help to improve companies’ economic performance
  • Foster a workplace culture of transparency and accountability
  • Increase workers’ motivation
  • Enhance workers’ wellbeing
  • Other benefit (please specify)
  • Contribute to the fight against fraud and corruption
  • Contribute to the proper management of public (national and EU) funds
  • Improve investors’ trust
  • Contribute to the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance
  • Enhance protection of public health and safety
  • Enhance food safety
  • Enhance the protection of the environment
  • Encourage fair competition
  • Other benefit (please specify)
  • Encourage false reporting or over reporting
  • Undermine the general public's confidence in public institutions if information considered secret or protected is divulged by civil servants (e.g. personal tax information)
  • Undermine mutual trust in the workplace
  • Imply significant administrative burdens/costs for the private sector
  • Imply significant administrative burdens/costs for the public sector
  • Undermine trust between companies / business partners
  • Undermine trust between clients and service-providers (e.g. legal advisors, tax advisors, accountants, consultants)
  • Damage business reputation/trust in public institutions
  • Encourage the leaking of confidential know-how and business information (trade secrets)
  • Other drawback (please specify)
  • Clear definition in law of the threats to the public interest covered by whistleblower protection
  • Clear general information and awareness raising policies by the state (e.g. information campaigns) concerning rights of whistleblowers (including on advice and assistance) and applicable procedures
  • Clear information by private or public sector organisations to their employees concerning rights of whistleblowers (including on advice and assistance) and relevant internal procedures
  • Clear information and awareness raising by trade unions concerning rights of whistleblowers (including on advice and assistance) and applicable procedures
  • Other (please specify)
  • Channels in organisations/businesses for internal reporting of wrongdoings
  • Channels for reporting of wrongdoings to oversight institutions
  • Protection in case of disclosure to the public (e.g. media, web platforms, etc) where channels for internal reporting and for reporting to oversight institutions are not available, not functioning properly (or cannot reasonably be expected to function properly)
  • Proper investigation of the whistleblower reports or disclosures
  • Protection against retaliation at work
  • Protection of whistleblowers in administrative proceedings
  • Exemption of whistleblowers from criminal liability
  • Immunity from civil action for damages
  • Financial support covering the costs of legal proceedings
  • Psychological support
  • Other (please specify)
  • Protection of confidentiality of whistleblower's data, including where latter is anonymous but identifiable
  • Protection against dismissal, e.g. interim relief to suspend dismissal, right to reinstatement in the work place, etc.
  • Protection against suspension
  • Protection against demotion
  • Protection against loss of promotion opportunities
  • Protection against punitive transfers
  • Protection against reductions in or deductions of wages
  • Protection against harassment by superiors and/or colleagues
  • Reversing the burden of proof so that, in a prima facie case of retaliation, the employer carries the burden to demonstrate that any measure taken against a whistleblower is not related to a whistle-blower’s disclosure
  • Protection against blacklisting
  • Financial support to cover costs of legal proceedings
  • Compensation for dismissal or financial loss
  • Other (please specify)
  • Requirement that the whistleblowers reasonably believe the information they disclose to be true
  • Requirement that the whistleblowers act in a disinterested way
  • Requirement that the disclosure concerns a matter of public interest
  • Protection of the rights of the person/business affected by the report (e.g. rights of dignity, personal data, business secrets and respect of the rights of defence) including protection against abusive/malicious reports
  • Rules aimed at balancing the interest of employers to manage their organisations and to protect their interests with the right of the public to know when their interests are at risk
  • Rules aimed at balancing professional secrecy obligations with the right of the public to know when their interests are at risk
  • Other (please specify)

Existing rules and their impacts

  • Restrictions on freedom of expression of the individuals
  • Restrictions on the watchdog role of journalists and media and on the public’s right to know
  • Negative impacts on working conditions
  • Negative impacts on workers’ well being
  • Weak culture of integrity and accountability in the workplace
  • Workers in the public sector are reluctant to report threats or harm to the public interest
  • Workers in the private sector are reluctant to report threats or harm to the public interest
  • Low compliance by public authorities with the law
  • Low compliance by businesses with the law
  • Low investors' trust
  • Unfair competition (cartels etc.)
  • High level of fraud and corruption
  • Mismanagement of public funds
  • High level of tax evasion and tax avoidance
  • Risks for public health and safety
  • Risks for food safety
  • Risks for the environment
  • Other (please specify)
  • Negative impact on the protection of the public interest also of those Member States providing stronger whistleblower protection or of the public interest of the EU as a whole (in areas such as the fight against fraud and corruption, tax evasion and tax avoidance, misuse of personal data and market abuse, protection of public health and safety, food safety and the environment, protection of fair competition)
  • Negative impact on the protection of the financial interests of the EU (both as regards EU expenditures, for example fraud to EU grants, as well as EU revenues, for example fraud to customs duties)
  • Negative impact on the well-being of workers whose companies move from a Member State offering a higher level of whistleblower protection to a Member State with lower or no protection
  • Negative impact on the cross-border mobility of workers who would be reluctant to move from a Member State with a higher level of whistleblower protection to one with lower or no protection
  • Negative impact on the freedom of establishment of companies which would be reluctant to move from a Member State offering a higher level of whistleblower protection to a Member State with lower or no protection (resulting in a weaker culture of integrity and accountability and lower investors’ trust)
  • Negative impact on the freedom of establishment of companies which would be reluctant to move to a Member State offering a higher level of protection of whistleblowers (e.g. where the introduction of relevant arrangements may imply significant administrative costs due to necessary changes in the business model)
  • Negative impact on the free movement of capital, because investors would be reluctant to invest in companies established in a Member State with low or no protection
  • Negative impact on the free movement of capital, because investors would only invest in companies established in a Member State with low or no whistleblower protection (e.g. where the introduction of relevant arrangements may imply significant administrative costs)
  • Distortion of competition at EU level resulting from the lower level of legal compliance with relevant rules, and of integrity and accountability in Member States where there is lower or no whistleblower protection
  • Other negative cross-border impact (please specify)
  • There are no such negative impacts
  • Positive impact on the protection of the public interest also of those Member States providing weaker or no whistleblower protection or of the public interest of the EU as a whole (because of spill-over effects, .e.g. incentive for Member States to compete)
  • Positive impact on the well-being of workers whose companies move from a Member State offering a lower level of whistleblower protection to a Member State with higher level of protection
  • Positive impact on the cross-border mobility of workers who would be incentivised to move from a Member State with a lower level of whistleblower protection to one with higher level of protection
  • Positive impact on the freedom of establishment of companies which would be incentivised to move from a Member State offering a higher level of whistleblower protection to a Member State with lower or no protection (e.g. due to administrative burden and costs).
  • Positive impact on the free movement of capital, because investors would invest in companies established in a Member State with low or no protection (e.g. less administrative burden or costs)
  • Other positive cross-border impact (please specify)
  • There are no such positive impacts

Need for minimum standards

  • Protection of public health and safety
  • Protection of food safety
  • Protection of environment
  • Protection of energy supply
  • Fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance
  • Fight against anti-competitive practices (cartels etc.)
  • Increase of accountability and transparency in industry and business
  • Fight against fraud and corruption
  • Good management of public (national and EU) funds
  • Other (please specify)
  • Channels in an organisation/business for reporting of wrongdoing
  • Channels for reporting to relevant public regulatory bodies (i.e. regulatory agencies in specific sector)
  • Channels for reporting to horizontal independent body (e.g. ombudsman)
  • Channels for reporting to sectorial independent body (e.g. concerning financial services, energy, taxation, etc.)
  • Channels for reporting to law enforcement (e.g. police, prosecution)
  • Protection in case of disclosure to the public (media, web platforms, etc) where internal reporting and reporting to oversight institutions are not available, not functioning properly or cannot reasonably expected to function properly.
  • Right of workers to be informed on the whistleblowing provisions and procedures applicable at the specific workplace
  • Procedure that grants whistleblowers an official status (with rights of information)
  • Procedure to inform whistleblowers on regular basis about the status of the follow-up to their report
  • Rules for contact of whistleblowers with the investigation authority before, during and after an investigation
  • Rules on whistleblowers' access to the file or to documents in the file
  • Proper investigation of the relevant reports and disclosures
  • Protection of the confidentiality of the whistleblower's data
  • Protection of the rights and interests of third parties implicated
  • Protection of whistleblowers against retaliation at work
  • Protection of whistleblowers in administrative proceedings
  • Immunity from civil action for damages
  • Exemption of whistleblowers from criminal liability
  • Financial support covering the costs of legal proceedings
  • Financial or other types of rewards
  • Psychological support
  • Other minimum standard (please specify)