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Ireland and France have both adopted laws transposing Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (the Whistleblowing Directive).

The Irish law - the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill 2022 - will enhance and strengthen the protections for whistleblowers in Ireland extending the scope of the legislation in providing protections for volunteers, shareholders, board members and job applicants.

Private sector organisations with 50 or more employees will be required to establish formal channels and procedures for their employees to make protected disclosures, as is currently the case in the public sector. A new Office of the Protected Disclosures Commissioner will be established in the Office of the Ombudsman to support the operation of the new legislation. Furthermore, in civil proceedings the burden of proof will be reversed so that it will fall to the employer to provide that any alleged act of penalisation did not occur because the person made a protected disclosure.

The French law, Proposition de loi visant à améliorer la protection des lanceurs d'alerte, reforms the existing law known as “Sapin II” and provides for a series of improvements. The new law has a wide material scope which includes the disclosure of information regarding any harm to the public interest, and not just a breach of EU or national law.

Furthermore, the new law provides for the protection of whistleblowing facilitators including NGOs that assist in the reporting process and establishes dissuasive sanctions for those who aim to curb reporting or to discourage whistleblowers by overloading them with abusive procedures. These actions may lead to personal liability for retaliation including fines up to 60,000 Euros or imprisonment up to 3 years.

For more information on whistleblowing legislation in the EU, please refer to the Whistleblower monitor here.