The directive on whistleblower protection and the national law

2019.12.10

As far as the Polish legal system is concerned, there is no legal act comprehensively regulating the whistleblower’s situation. The last attempt made by the legislator is the draft act on the liability of collective entities, which was submitted to the Sejm in January this year. It corresponds to the assumptions of the directive in so far as it obliges entrepreneurs to implement the procedure of reporting abuses and orders them to protect whistleblowers. Although, according to the principle of discounting parliamentary rights, it is not currently undergoing any proceedings, it nevertheless constitutes an important point of reference.
 

The whistleblower protection directive

Act on the liability of collective entities

Prohibition on, in particular:

  • termination of the employment agreement based on a notification made in good faith
  • suspension, compulsory unpaid leave, dismissal or equivalent measures
  • demotion or suspension of promotion
  • transfer of duties, change of workplace, decreased remuneration, change of working hours
  • suspension of training
  • negative evaluation of performance or negative opinion about the employee
  • imposition of a disciplinary penalty, reprimand or any other penalty, including a financial penalty
  • Obligation to implement a procedure for reporting violations and relevant proceedings
  • Ensuring anonymity at the whistleblower’s request
  • Protection of the whistleblower’s personal data
  • Protection against retaliation and discrimination
  • Prohibition of termination of the employment agreement due to a notification made in good faith (in cases of unjustified termination, the whistleblower may be entitled to compensation for the entire period of unemployment or reinstatement)

 

  • coercion, intimidation, harassment or exclusion in the workplace
  • discrimination, disadvantageous or unfair treatment

failure to convert a fixed-term agreement into a permanent agreement

 

  • Obligation to implement a procedure for reporting violations and relevant proceedings
  • Ensuring anonymity at the whistleblower’s request
  • Protection of the whistleblower’s personal data

 

 

It is also worth pointing out that the draft act on the liability of collective entities changed the regime of collective entities’ criminal liability. The assumption consisted in the possibility to convict companies for any crime committed directly in connection with their activity, without waiting for the conviction of the perpetrator or even if they were not detected. This means that the company - employer - could also be held liable for crimes against employee rights, which was previously impossible. The draft provided for severe penalties - the dissolution of the company or imposition of a financial penalty - ranging from 30,000 to 30,000,000 PLN. The prosecutor's office had the right to control whether the company conducted an internal investigation after suspicion of a crime was reported. If no such investigation was conducted, the fine could increase up to 60,000,000 PLN.