Obligations of entrepreneurs arising from the adoption of the Directive
The implementation of the directive on the protection of whistleblowers will entail additional obligations for businesses and public entities. The Directive imposes the following obligations:
- establishing internal and external channels for reporting irregularities and adopting a procedure for receiving and following-up reports;
- registering notifications;
- looking into a notification within a reasonable period of time (the Directive stipulates that the period to provide feedback on the follow-up to the reporting person must not exceed three months from the date of the notification);
- regularly reviewing the procedures for receiving and following-up notifications;
- ensuring the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity and protecting them against retaliation.
The protection of whistleblowers is to consist in counteracting the negative effects of their notification - the prohibition on termination of the employment agreement as a result of notification in good faith as well as other forms of repression on the part of the employer or co-workers. Protection against retaliation includes a prohibition on actions including suspension in duties, forced unpaid leave, demotion or suspension of promotion, transfer of duties, change of workplace, reduction of remuneration, suspension of training, intimidation, mobbing or exclusion in the workplace. The EU has left it up to the Member States to provide for proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. The Polish legislator will, therefore, be free to determine sanctions for natural and legal persons who hinder reporting, retaliate against whistleblowers or disclose their identity.