faculty of law, university of latvia
A whistle blower is a person who discloses information about wrongdoings--which can include fraud, corruption, employment discrimination, and other violations of laws or company policies, for the benefit of the public. Whistle blowers often play an important role in exposing corruption and money laundering. For example, a whistle blower brought to light a massive case of money laundering (approx. US$ 235 billion) by the Estonia-based bank branch of Denmark-based Danske Bank from 2007 to 2015. See Explainer: Danske Bank's 200 billion euro money laundering scandal, Reuters.com (18 Nov. 2018).
If whistle blowers are not protected by law, they can face severe consequences from their employers or even from law enforcement authorities. Employers or company officials may be tempted to retaliate against a whistle blowing employee by terminating his or her employment, by reassigning the employee to less desirable tasks, or by not promoting the employee under circumstances in a promotion would normally be granted. In addition, to expose corruption, fraud, or other wrongdoing, the whistle blowing employee may have to disclose trade secrets or other confidential information of the employer. Without adequate protection, a whistle blowing employee may face civil or even criminal liability for misappropriation of trade secrets or for breaching his or her duty of confidentiality to the employer.
Around the world, countries are increasingly recognizing the importance of encouraging whistle blowers to expose corruption and other misdeeds. At a minimum, this includes prohibiting retaliation against employees who, in good faith, report on suspected wrongdoing. Some countries provide more extensive protection to whistle blowers than do other countries. Below are some examples.
Interview with the EU Commission - What is the EU Whistleblowing Directive designed to do? | VinciWorks
Interview with the EU Commission - Why do we need an EU-wide Directive on whistleblowing? | VinciWorks
Kas ir trauksmes celšana? | Valdības māja
The legal framework protecting whistleblowers in the U.S. | PBS NewsHour