Press release, March 31, 2021
vangard | Littler, a leading labor and employment law firm, and the German arm of Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice, is pleased to announce a new partnership with WhistleB to offer clients across Europe a secure and trusted employee whistleblowing system.
For the uniform establishment of whistleblower protection, the European Union issued the so-called Whistleblowing Directive (EU) 2019/1937 in the fall of 2019. It came into force on December 16, 2019 and must be transposed into national law by EU member states no later than December 17, 2021. Under the Whistleblowing Directive, companies with more than 50 employees as well as public authorities and municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants are required to establish internal reporting channels through which violations of EU law can be reported. In addition, the Directive also provides for external reporting offices to be set up by the federal government or state governments and offers whistleblowers the right of choice as to which reporting office they approach.
The Whistleblowing Directive is to be implemented into German law by the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG). In order to avoid contradictions and to create legal certainty for potential whistleblowers, the (speaker's) draft of the HinSchG covers not only violations of EU law, but also violations of German regulations corresponding to the EU law mentioned in the Directive, such as German environmental law.
In addition, the draft bill covers the entire German criminal law and all administrative offenses. As a result, this leads to an enormous number of reportable violations in Germany. This planned expansion is not mandatory. Rather, the German legislature is taking advantage of the option provided by the Directive to extend the scope to include violations of national law.
“Whistleblowing claims have skyrocketed globally over the last decade, and with all indications pointing to the trend only growing in the future, companies need a comprehensive resource to ensure they are both compliant with jurisdictional regulations, and protected against potential reputational damage. Even though a direct sanction for the non-operation of an internal whistleblowing system is not expected, my clear recommendation is to establish an attractive whistleblowing system in order to prevent employees, if possible, from directly contacting authorities” Dr. Thomas Griebe said, founding member and partner of vangard | Littler. “As a firm, we are committed to continuing to develop and leverage best-in-class technological solutions for our clients and I’m excited to add Littler | Whistle Protect to that already robust offering. Our clients in Germany and across Europe will benefit deeply from the services integrated within this tool.”
Through Littler | Whistle Protect, our clients will have access to:
- Reporting Channel: Employees can report suspected wrongdoing through a web-based landing page and questionnaire. The whistleblower can remain anonymous and the employer can respond immediately.
- Case Management Tool: The tool securely and efficiently manages whistleblowing reports, which facilitates the receipt, monitoring and management of cases.
- Statistics and Report Generation: The dashboard provides an overview of current and historic data, status, alerts, performance indicators and in-depth analysis.
With more than 1,600 labor and employment attorneys in offices around the world, Littler provides workplace solutions that are local, everywhere. Our diverse global team and proprietary technology foster a culture that celebrates original thinking, delivering groundbreaking innovation that prepares employers for what’s happening today, and what’s likely to happen tomorrow.
About WhistleB, by NAVEX Global
WhistleB is a leading provider of whistleblowing management software, used by hundreds of organisations in over 160 countries. In 2019, WhistleB became part of NAVEX Global - the worldwide leader in integrated risk and compliance management software and services. NAVEX Global’s solutions are trusted by thousands of customers around the globe to help them manage risk, address complex regulatory requirements, build corporate ESG programmes and foster ethical workplace cultures.
» Like us, vangard | Littler is a clear leader in its field. We’re excited to be combining our expertise to deliver a comprehensive and secure solution to the EU Whistleblowing Directive for organisations across Germany. With the Directive’s compliance deadline fast approaching, we look forward to supporting them through the Littler | Whistle Protect service in the months to come. «
Giles Newman, Managing Director, International, at WhistleB’s parent company, NAVEX Global
You can find answers to the most important questions surrounding the future protection of whistleblowers and the obligations that companies will face in our FAQs: Whistleblower protection.
If you would like more information, please contact
Berlin: Tabea Frühinsfeld
Dusseldorf: Dr. Torben Weihmann
Frankfurt am Main: Dr. Frank Zaumseil
Munich: Dr. Esther Dehmel