What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is an increasingly popular concept recently, with numerous definitions. The International Labour Organisation refers to it as “reporting illegal, inappropriate, dangerous or unetic practices of employers by current or former employees.” On the other hand, according to the authors of one of the first blowing the whistle publications in this matter of 1985, it is ‘the disclosure by current or former members of illegal, immoral or unacceptable practices conducted under the supervision/control of their employers, persons or organisations who are in a position to take action’. Regardless of the definition adopted, one thing is certain – this concept arouses a lot of emotions: from full consent, through conditional tolerance, to clear criticism
Notwithstanding the formalised definitions of whistleblowing cited above, in practice it amounts to reporting on widespread abuses in a particular organisation, most often in relation to corporations.
Initially, that institution was in no way governed by law. The legislation currently affecting it is booming. In December 2019, Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of whistleblowers, for which EU Member States have two years to implement, entered into force. The essence of an EU act is to develop appropriate procedures to enable simple and secure reporting as well as to ensure full protection for whistleblowers, as whistleblowers in their organisation are so commonly called. The International Organisation for Standardisation has also started efforts to issue iso 37002 (“Management of reporting systems”) in this respect. It has declared the completion of the work for 2021. In Poland, too, further regulations are being created regarding the matter in question. The Ministry of Investment and Development has issued a guide on anti-fraud in the framework of projects from the Infrastructure and Environment Programme 2014-2020, and the UOKiK has developed a programme dedicated to whistleblowers. Going forward, the content of the Act of 16 October 2019 amending the Act on the Offer and Conditions for the Implementation of Financial Instruments, which entered into force on 30 November 2019, provides for certain requirements with regard to procedures for anonymous reporting of infringements. Not without significance for the regulation of whistleblowing in Poland are also draft law on public disclosure and amendment of the law on the liability of collective entities for acts prohibited under penalty.