In accordance with the EU directive, the new French Whistleblower Protection Law introduces a free choice of reporting.
Previously, whistleblowers in France were obliged to report their concern internally. For external processing of a whistleblowing report to be possible, the report must have fi rst been made internally to the employer or to its representative. This is no longer the case. A whistleblower will now be free to report externally if they do not believe that the case can be resolved internally or if they fear they will be subject to retaliation. Several competent authorities have been appointed to receive external reports, including the French Defender of Rights (Défenseur des droits).
The new law also introduces a wider defi nition for protection given to whistleblowers. Not only are employees protected, but also any natural person who reveals or reports violations of the law or international commitments, or indeed any threat to the public interest. Regardless of whether the information is known directly or indirectly by the person, it will qualify as a whistleblowing report. Those who facilitate or assist whistleblowers, including non-profi t organisations such as trade unions, will also be given protection, as will military personnel.