Whistleblowing: chance or risk? – new tendencies in Europe


2002 US law has been demanding the implementation of whistleblower procedures from public listed companies and enforced whistleblower protection. The US tax administration installed 2006 a whistleblower award system. US regulations concerning whistleblower hotlines are extending to Europe. European countries are enforced by international and European Institutions to introduce whistleblower protection by law and accept whistleblower procedures. An awarding system is in discussion. The European Court of Human Rights made a judgement that the freedom of expression is a higher good than the reputation of the employer. The European data protecting law protects the rights of accused persons as well as the rights of whistleblowers. It is necessary to consider a European whistleblower scheme which prefers internal whistleblowing. Clear procedures should protect whistleblower in good faith and the rights of the accused persons and the organization. External whistleblowing should only be protected in exceptional cases, when public interest is endangered and should only be protected in case of disclosure to authorities. Disclosure to media and political representatives is dangerous because improper use is possible. Whistleblowing for financial reasons is unethical and awarding is suspicious. Whistleblowing is a chance in the fight against corruption and crime with the risks of false accusation, unethical reasons and unethical use of information. Prospective regulations are necessary to avoid these risks.

Hauser Peter