Dalays in work on the law on the protection of whistleblowers.

In October we reported in our newsletter about the publication of a draft act on the protection of whistleblowers. According to the EU directive, the act should be implemented by Poland by 17 December 2021. However, this deadline passed and the act was not referred for further work in the Sejm.

A direct effect of the Directive

The above situation may result in the application of the so-called principle of the direct effect of the directive. In practice, this means that certain provisions of the EU directive may be binding, despite the lack of Polish regulations in this respect. As a consequence, public entities may be obliged to implement and directly apply the provisions of the directive. Moreover, individuals acting as whistleblowers in Poland may be protected under EU law.

When are the new obligations for entrepreneurs?

It should be remembered that entrepreneurs will have little time to adjust to the new regulations once the act finally enters into force. The draft act stipulates that from the moment the act is announced in the official gazette, it will enter into force after 14 days.

What will the new law introduce?

As a reminder, the new legislation will provide in particular that:

  • organisations will have to establish appropriate operating procedures, as well as communication channels for receiving and verifying reports and communicating with reporters;
  • organisations will have to designate a person or a special cell responsible for handling reports;
  • whistleblowers will have effective and broad remedies against retaliation or other harm for reporting violations, unequal treatment, or even termination;
  • the 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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