On 18 October 2021, a draft law on the protection of whistleblowers (i.e. whistleblowers) was published. This is the first step towards implementing the EU Directive 2019/1937.
The final content of the Act is not yet known, but the Polish legislator should implement the provisions of the indicated EU Directive by 17 December 2021. If the national provisions are not enacted, certain provisions of the EU Directive may apply. Therefore, entrepreneurs affected by the changes should design and implement new solutions in the last quarter of 2021.
WHO WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE CHANGE? WHAT IS AFFECTED?
Entities with 250 or more employees will be required to set up effective protection systems to enable whistleblowers to report violations of the law and procedures for responding to such reports. Implementation by entities with between 50 and 249 employees is due by 17 December 2023.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE PROPOSAL?
In particular, the new provisions will provide that:
- organisations will have to establish appropriate operating procedures as well as communication channels for receiving and verifying reports and for communicating with reporters;
- organisations will have to designate a person or a special unit responsible for handling reports;
- whistleblowers will have effective and wide-ranging legal remedies against retaliation or other harm for reporting violations; the uneven catalogue of persons who can be considered a whistleblower is extremely broad and includes, for example, employees, former employees, contractors, volunteers, interns, etc.
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