EQS Group AG: Bundestag passes Whistleblower Protection Act / EQS Group welcomes improvementsEQS
Im Artikel erwähnte Wertpapiere: EQS Group AG
Bundestag passes Whistleblower Protection Act / EQS Group welcomes improvements
Even better protection for whistleblowers: Anonymous communication must be made possible
Now whistleblowers in Germany will receive real legal certainty! In its final session of the year, the Bundestag passed the German Whistleblower Protection Act, thus implementing the EU Whistleblowing Directive (EU Directive 2019/1937). From the perspective of EQS Group, the market leader for whistleblowing systems in Europe, it is particularly pleasing that the law has been improved once again with regards to anonymous reports: Reporting channels must now accommodate anonymous tips or allow arrangements to enable anonymous communication with reporting persons. In the last government draft, only a recommendation (“shall deal with”) was made in this regard. Abandoning anonymous reports would have represented an incalculable risk for whistleblowers and companies.
“Although the Whistleblower Protection Act is a year late in its arrival, the time has been put to really good use. The scope of application is not limited to EU law, so whistleblowers also have legal certainty when reporting certain violations of national law. In addition, they do not have to fear repression as they can choose to remain anonymous if they wish – originally there was no obligation to follow up with whistleblowers who did not provide information on their identity”, says Achim Weick, founder and CEO of EQS Group, who sees the adopted Whistleblower Protection Act as an important step towards more integrity in business.
Companies, authorities and municipalities must set up reporting channels
For companies with 250 or more employees, public institutions and municipalities with 10,000 or more inhabitants, there is an urgent need for action. Among other things, they must set up a secure internal reporting channel that enables anonymous reporting and encrypted communication. Digital whistleblowing systems have established themselves as best practice over the last 20 years because only they can fulfil all the requirements for secure, anonymous and GRPR-compliant communication. Other reporting channels cannot guarantee all of this.
The importance of anonymous reports is also highlighted by the “Whistleblowing Report 2021”, an international study by the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden, which is also mentioned several times as a source in the government draft act of the German Whistleblower Protection Act. According to this report, every second whistleblowing complaint in 2020 was received in companies where the identity of the informant was not provided. Without protecting the identity of whistleblowers, many valuable reports would not reach companies or only with a considerable delay, exposing organisations to great risk.
Companies should proactively take the first steps
Another feature of the law is that priority has to be given to internal reporting channels. Therefore, companies are being called upon to create incentives for the use of internal reporting procedures.
“In our view, the most important incentive for this is an ethical and strong compliance culture. Clear, transparent communication of compliance processes and measures creates trust and promotes willingness to report internally, especially if this can be done anonymously and the persons reporting do not have to fear any steps under labour law”, says Marcus Sultzer, member of the board of directors of EQS Group AG, who recommends companies establish trustworthy internal channels as quickly as possible. If whistleblowers turn to the supervisory authorities, delicate processes, fines and reputational damage are often the result of external investigations.
EQS Group Global Marketing Director
+49 (0)89 444430-173
End of Media Release
Issuer: EQS Group AG
Key word(s): Law
16.12.2022 CET/CEST Dissemination of a Press Release, transmitted by EQS News - a service of EQS Group AG.
|Company:||EQS Group AG|
|Phone:||+49(0)89 444 430-000|
|Fax:||+49(0)89 444 430-049|
|Listed:||Regulated Unofficial Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt (Scale), Munich (m:access), Stuttgart, Tradegate Exchange|
|EQS News ID:||1515363|
|End of News||EQS Media|
1515363 16.12.2022 CET/CEST