Swedish government announces new whistleblower directive
When commenting on the Swedish government’s proposed new whistleblower directive, Sweden’s Minister for Employment Eva Nordmark stated:
”Nobody should need to fear being fired or frozen out because they sound the alarm on misconduct in their place of work. We cannot have silent workplaces where problems are swept under the carpet.”
Now pegged to come into force on 17 December, 2021, the whistleblower directive, which strengthens the protection of whistleblowers who report suspected work-related irregularities, is a timely catalyst for more open and transparent business.
All too frequently stories still make the headlines about whistleblowers who are punished for daring to speak up. In one recent example in Stockholm, an employee tried to raise concerns internally, first to their manager, then more senior managers, and finally the company CEO, about what the person perceived as serious, life-threatening failings in the service provision of the company, and thus breaches in contracts with the customer. When nothing was done, the person disclosed the information to the media. As a consequence they were given a written warning, labelled as disloyal and threatened with losing their job.
This type of retaliation will soon incur sanctions for all companies with more than 50 employees, not only in Sweden but all over Europe, when the whistleblowing directive starts to become effective at the end of the year. The directive also obliges companies to put in place whistleblowing channels for people to report their concerns, and such systems must keep the identity of the whistleblower confidential.
However, the whistleblower directive is not just about the protection of the whistleblower.
As we have been saying at WhistleB for years, reports from whistleblowers are potentially highly valuable sources of information that provide organisations with an opportunity to nip misconduct in the bud early. It’s about damage limitation, risk mitigation, and reputation protection – and perhaps for forward-thinking companies, brand enhancement, process improvement and customer satisfaction.
But to report internally first, whistleblowers need to trust the internal reporting process. Which is exactly what the new whistleblower directive promotes. It does this by obliging companies to establish confidential whistleblowing channels, appoint competent persons to receive reports, and provide feedback to the whistleblower on what is being done.
We are happy to see organisations not simply seeking to comply with the new whistleblower directive, but truly striving to understand how they can gain value from embracing the whistleblower. WhistleB’s whistleblowing solution does both. It supports customers in complying with the whistleblower directive and the GDPR, and it has a host of functionality and security features that enables organisations to build trust with potential whistleblowers.
Why not sign up for a free demonstration of WhistleB’s system to understand how it can help you comply with the whistleblowing directive?
Watch this space for more information about the Swedish whistleblower directive as it becomes available.
Karin Henriksson, Founding partner and Senior Advisor, WhistleB
+46 70 444 32 16