The French Sapin 2 law and whistleblowing
Whistleblowing – a new requirement under Sapin 2
Companies and public entities that are covered by the new French Anti-Corruption law, Sapin 2 are required to adopt a compliance program that includes an internal whistleblowing mechanism “to allow employees to report acts or behaviors that violate the company’s Code of Conduct”.
Enhanced whistleblower protection under Sapin 2
Sapin 2 prohibits retaliation against a whistleblower, per international standards (Transparency International). A whistleblower acting in good faith is protected if he or she reports a violation of French law or of an international treaty to which France is a party, or any issue that poses a threat or damage to the public interest. The protection includes reports on possible violations of the Code of Conduct.
A whistleblower is defined broadly as an individual who reveals or signals, in a disinterested manner and in good faith, a crime or a misdemeanour, a serious and clear violation of an international convention ratified or approved by France, of a unilateral act by an international organization derived from such an engagement, of a law or regulation, or a threat or a serious damage to public interest of which he/she has personal knowledge.
There are exceptions for facts, information, and documents classified for national security purposes, or covered by medical confidentiality or attorney-client privilege.
The new law introduces measures to ensure the confidentiality and non-liability of whistleblowers. Companies must implement procedures that:
-enable whistleblowers’ reporting internally to either direct (line manager) or indirect supervisors (for example compliance officer). If there is no appropriate internal respond, or in case of a serious imminent danger, a whistleblower can turn to appropriate judicial or administrative authorities, as well as to the relevant professional association. The information may be made public only as a last resort.
-ensure that whistleblowers’ identities remain confidential.
Individuals who do not respect these provisions of non-retaliation, or reveal a whistleblower´s identity may be punished by imprisonment and fines.
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For more information, please contact WhistleB France. Mr. Claudio Interdonato at firstname.lastname@example.org or +33 6 27 83 57 82