Germany does not have specific legal provisions regulating whistleblowing in place. Currently, if a report made to a supervisor goes by unnoticed, many whistleblowers choose to address their work councils, but a disclosure to media may be punishable by law.
Several scandals in recent years, such as Siemens’ corruption affair as well as the manipulation of emission reports at Volkswagen, illustrated the negative impact of a lack of whistleblower legislation not only for whistleblowers, but also corporations.
In order to counter these tendencies, some German companies have started to introduce internal whistleblower services to guarantee efficiency and credibility.
This, however, might change soon: During their spring conference in the beginning of this month, the 16 Ministers of Justice of all federal states agreed that whistleblowers should be stronger protected.
“We must finally seek a comprehensive legal system that protects honest whistleblowers,” declared the Green Party’s Niewisch-Lennartz, a former data protection official.
A comprehensive law on federal level in Germany would most likely include provisions that would require companies to establish corporate whistleblower systems.
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