The Government Legislation Centre has published a draft law on the protection of persons reporting breaches of law (whistleblowers). According to it, employers will not be obliged to accept anonymous reports.
Currently, the Polish legal system still lacks a law dedicated to the protection of whistleblowers, i.e. persons who, acting in good faith and in the public interest, report or disclose information about breaches of law.
The legislator has already prepared several versions of the bill. Recently, the latest version of the whistleblower protection regulations has been published, which, however, does not provide for the obligation for the employer to accept anonymous whistleblower reports.
Let us remind that the draft law on the protection of persons reporting breaches of law is to implement Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. At the same time, the EU directive does not prohibit or mandate the acceptance of anonymous reports and leaves this matter to the discretion of national legislators. The regulations proposed by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy therefore remain consistent with Directive.
According to the current version of the proposed regulations on the protection of whistleblowers, it is the employer who will decide whether it will accept anonymous reports regarding breaches of law. Companies are to regulate this as part of the internal notification procedure adopted in the organization.
An employer who decides not to accept anonymous reports will not be obliged to process them. If, however, despite the lack of regulation of this issue in the internal reporting procedure, an employer deals with anonymous reporting, it will not be subject to statutory requirements related to the handling of such cases, e.g. deadlines or follow-up.
However, it should be borne in mind that an organization that decides not to accept anonymous reports may expose itself to various risks. One of them is the possibility of data leakage in the event that the whistleblower searches for other reporting channels or other recipients of information.
In addition, anonymity means a greater sense of security for whistleblowers, a greater willingness to report breaches, but also a lower sense of responsibility of the whistleblower for the veracity of the report. On the other hand, for the employer, the anonymity of reports is a challenge, especially at the stage of designing the application or reporting channel, but also the ability to maintain high efficiency of the compliance system and good image of the company.
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