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23 April 2021 / news

EU Whistleblower Directive: New standards applicable across all sectors

To guarantee an EU-wide minimum standard for the protection of whistleblowers, the European Union adopted the Whistleblower Directive in December 2019. One of the Directive’s key instruments to facilitate early reporting is the obligation for private and public legal entities to establish an internal reporting channel. In addition, all natural and legal persons must abstain from retaliating against a whistleblower who has properly filed a report via one of the reporting channels (internal, external and in some cases also public disclosure). EU Member States have until 17 December 2021 to implement the Directive.


Unlike some other EU countries, Belgium does not yet have a dedicated legal regime to facilitate and protect reporting by whistleblowers. Currently only the financial and the public sectors are subject to such a regime. The implementation of the Whistleblower Directive will extend this to all sectors. It will also necessitate an update of existing policies, in particular those in place on a voluntary basis within companies not subject to sector-specific regulation.

A Bill for the protection of whistleblowers is pending in the Belgian Parliament, but this does not reflect most of the minimum requirements of the Whistleblower Directive.

Below we elaborate on the key aspects of the Directive with a focus on the obligation to establish an internal reporting channel and the applicable minimum requirements.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our team members if you have questions. To answer our clients’ needs, our team comprises specialists in various areas of law such as employment law, compliance, privacy and banking & finance.


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