- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
European Commission To Sue Czech Republic and Others Over Protection of Whistleblowers
The European Commission (EC) announced on Monday that it would take legal action against the Czech Republic and seven other EU member states for their failure to introduce legislation to protect whistleblowers reporting illegal practices from possible retaliation. Alongside the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Hungary, and Poland are also facing legal action. The European directive from October 2019, which required EU member states to implement rules to protect whistleblowers, was to be transposed into national legal systems by December 2021.
The Czech government approved the relevant legislation last November, and the Chamber of Deputies constitutional and legal committee is currently evaluating it. However, the debate on the bill was temporarily suspended in early February and is set to resume in early March. The directive aims to create an environment in which whistleblowers are not afraid to report illegal acts. The measure could protect, for example, those who reveal corruption and practices at their workplace that threaten public health, data protection, product or service safety, or nuclear safety. The legislation applies to both the public sector and private firms with 50 or more employees.
The directive is regarded as essential to promoting EU law in areas where its violation could harm the public interest, such as environmental protection, the issuance of public contracts, and nuclear safety. Failure to transpose the directive into national law could result in financial penalties, according to the EC.
In many EU countries, whistleblowers are not adequately protected, with many facing retaliation from their employers or other entities after speaking out about illegal practices. The European Union passed the Whistleblower Protection Directive to address this issue and to provide whistleblowers with greater legal protection. Member states had until December 2021 to implement the directive’s provisions.
Whistleblowers play a crucial role in uncovering and preventing illegal practices and wrongdoing, including corruption, fraud, and other forms of misconduct. However, they are often vulnerable to retaliation from their employers, colleagues, or other entities for speaking out. In some cases, whistleblowers have faced intimidation, harassment, or even violence. The Whistleblower Protection Directive seeks to address these concerns by providing legal protection for whistleblowers, allowing them to report illegal practices without fear of retribution.
Article by Prague Forum