Government proposes to offer whistleblowers sanctuary from discrimination and persecution

Czech Republic to give enhanced protection to whistleblowers

After months of discussions, the Czech Government has finally approved the proposed adoption of a new act to protect whistleblowers. The draft law should be finalised by September 2012. If approved by the Czech Parliament, it may become effective as early as 2013.

As things stand currently, Czech law does not contain any specific protection for whistleblowers. However, after thorough research and comparison with other legal systems, the Czech Governmental Office has now approved one of several legislative approaches to this legal instrument.

If the act is approved by the Czech Parliament, whistleblowers will be granted a privileged position in criminal proceedings. This will include a decision on whether or not to retain their anonymity or right to inspect a criminal file.

Activists are also seeking an amendment to the Labour Code which would protect whistleblowers from discrimination. It would mean that employers would be unable to sack members of staff who have spoken out. In cases where such a measure would be proportionate, whistleblowers could even be granted time-off with full salary compensation paid by the state.

While the proposed regulation will be subject to further political discussions, risk managers whose organisations are operating inside the Czech Republic should keep up to date on developments.