The scope of Whistleblower Directive

The Whistleblowing Directive (“Directive”) provides a list of relevant fields of EU law where reporting of breaches falls into the scope and protection of the Directive, and which the whistleblower reporting schemes must support.

The fields of EU law captured by the Directive include:

  1. Public procurement
  2. Financial services, products and markets, and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
  3. Product safety and compliance
  4. Transport safety
  5. Protection of the environment
  6. Radiation protection and nuclear safety
  7. Food and feed safety, animal health and welfare
  8. Public health
  9. Consumer protection
  10. Protection of privacy and personal data, and security of network and information systems

The requirement for whistleblower reporting scheme is not entirely new: it exists today in the financial services industry.

What the Directive does is that it imposes an obligation to set up whistleblower reporting schemes to a much wider group of companies than before, and captures the company regardles of the type of business and regardless how strong is the connection of the business to the relevant fields of the EU law.

It is also important to consider that EU Member States may extend the scope of breaches that can enjoy protection of the Directive and fall subject to reporting through whistleblower reporting scheme. The EU Commission in fact invites Member States to go beyond the above minimum list and establish comprehensive frameworks for whistleblower protections based on the principles of the Directive.

It is therefore important to track which other fields of law relevant Member States include to the scope in the national transposition of the Directive.

Additional candidates are likely to be bribery, abuse of public funds, discrimination and workplace harassment.