[November 2022] State of whistleblowing – laws in Cyprus, Germany, & Slovenia

With no time to spare Germany & Slovenia scramble efforts to move closer in line with the EU directive. Cyprus faces high-profile cases centered around retaliation against whistleblowers, meanwhile Uber makes the news in a not-so-positive way with whistleblowing claims of misleading the world about the benefits of the gig economy. This is November’s State of Whistleblowing, a monthly report about the latest EU directive developments in whistleblowing.

EU Whistleblowing Directive adoption status

❌1/27 – Not started 🇭🇺

⚠️16/27 –  Delayed 🇦🇹🇧🇪🇧🇬🇨🇿🇪🇪🇫🇮🇩🇪🇬🇷🇮🇹🇱🇺🇵🇱🇷🇴🇸🇰🇸🇮🇪🇸🇳🇱

✅10/27 – Law Adopted 🇭🇷🇨🇾🇩🇰🇫🇷🇮🇪🇱🇻🇱🇹🇲🇹🇵🇹🇸🇪

Cyprus whistleblowing law

The Cyprus government recently voted to compensate a state employee whose two cars were torched after he told his supervisor that imported vehicle titles were being issued by the state transport department despite having a damage history. The anonymous employee received EURO 16,000 for having been a victim of retaliation after speaking up against the corruption. Cyprus continues to lag other EU member states when it comes to implementing the EU Whistleblower directive. However, in October, whistleblowing legislation was discussed in the House commerce committee as a possible measure for dealing with companies that engage in cartel-like behaviour. The proposed regulations would provide protection from fines if a company agrees to share evidence when breaches are reported to authorities.

German whistleblower protection act

Germany is currently working on a draft of its Whistleblower Protection Act to ensure compliance with the EU Whistleblower Directive, which has been in force since December 2019. The draft proposal would see German companies with 50 or more employees be required to develop an internal reporting system. Whistleblowers would have the choice to report wrongdoings through internal or external channels. Companies would have a choice whether to implement anonymous reporting or not. The new law would force companies to pay damages to whistleblowers if reprisals are proven in court. They would also be subject to a fine of up to EUR 100,000.

Slovenia whistleblowing directive

In Slovenia, a draft act on the protection of whistleblowers has recently been adopted. The law implements the EU directive to implement protection for people who report breaches in the country. The new law will affect the public and private sectors by introducing measures that ban retaliation and protect whistleblowers’ identities. The proposed law is an « umbrella » approach to respecting existing systems and supervisory mechanisms, upgrading them to ensure they allow for equal protection of people reporting wrongdoings, and defining the implementation of internal and external reporting channels.

Uber whistleblower

Uber is the latest company to face a high-profile disclosure of wrongdoing. The company is currently under investigation by the European Parliament’s committee on employment and social affairs after a former employee filed a whistleblower complaint in July 2022. On October 25th, former head of public policy Mark MacGann spoke at a public hearing in front of the committee. He accused Uber of misleading the world about the benefits of the gig economy and called for the rideshare company to classify its workers as employees to prevent their further exploitation and enhance their rights. The ridesharing giant’s approach to business growth has been at the expense of its platform workers, MacGann said. He called on European nations to address tech companies with ‘undemocratic’ policies. He revealed that Uber has flouted the law and secretly lobbied governments across the world for years, arguing that its platform offers financial benefits to drivers.

In reality, as Uber has expanded globally, many drivers have seen their earnings drop and risks to their personal safety increase. MacGann disclosed files that show active campaigns to disrupt the taxi industry and efforts to prevent regulators and police from accessing data. The Uber files reveal the company’s aggressive tactics to break into new markets where ridesharing is considered illegal. The ex-Uber employee first went public in July of 2022 when he leaked 18.69GB of emails, text messages, and company records to The Guardian

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