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08.04.2022

First draft of the Whistleblower Act exists!

The Ministry of Justice has finally sent a new draft for the "Law for Better Protection of Persons Giving Indications" to the other ministries for voting. It is expected that the draft will be approved by the cabinet in June and will come into force in autumn 2022. In the meantime, this is also long overdue, as the corresponding directive itself should have been transposed into national law by 17 December 2021. The EU Commission had already initiated formal infringement proceedings against Germany because of the delay.

The draft of the new law has not yet been published, but some points have already leaked to the public. For example, the scope of the law is to be extended to national law. This was already envisaged in the draft from December 2020, which, as is known, was not followed up.

In the spirit of the Directive, whistleblowers are protected from reprisals by the law as long as they first choose either the internal reporting channel or the external reporting channel - probably to an office in the Ministry of Justice. However, anonymous tips do not have to be followed up and if tips are deliberately false, claims for damages can also be asserted against the whistleblower. On the other hand, the whistleblower is entitled to claim damages if his or her rights granted by law are violated.

Contrary to the opinion of the EU Commission (we reported ), German group companies are to be allowed to set up a central office within the group for whistleblowers. This would be a considerable relief. It remains to be seen, however, whether this will actually be implemented accordingly and whether it will be judged to be in conformity with European law.

Conclusion

It thus remains to be noted that a draft of the German transposition law is finally available. However, it remains to be seen whether this law will actually come into force this year as planned and what will ultimately be implemented. We will continue to report and are happy to answer any questions.

Authors

Franziska Ladiges

Franziska Ladiges

Counsel

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