Herbert Smith Freehills has published the first edition of a Global Guide to Whistleblowing, providing a quick reference guide to the law and culture around employees 'blowing the whistle' in 40 key jurisdictions covering in EMEA, the Americas and Asia Pacific.
Levels of protection for whistleblowers vary widely across the globe, with some jurisdictions offering extensive, specific protection and financial incentives for external disclosure while others require employees to follow strictly defined rules, primarily to encourage internal disclosure. Businesses must act carefully when dealing with a whistleblower; retaliation from those accused of misconduct or from colleagues is a real possibility, and potential differences between the business's culture and that of the particular jurisdiction can exacerbate the situation.
Further, there remain several jurisdictions without express whistleblowing protection where employees must rely on (often quite extensive) general protection against unfair dismissal. A number of these jurisdictions are considering implementing specific whistleblower protection, so it is important for multi-nationals to keep on top of developments in this area.
There are also differences in approach to employers' use of whistleblowing policies across jurisdictions. Many businesses will want to encourage employees to speak up internally, to resolve problems at the earliest opportunity. Implementing a whistleblowing policy across a number of jurisdictions can present several challenges given the variety of approaches to data protection, employee consultation and cultural considerations.
Our guide to whistleblowing protection and policies aims to assist our clients in meeting some of these challenges. The guide contains overviews for each of the three regions analysing the main differences between jurisdictions in levels of protection for whistleblowers in the private sector and issues arising when implementing whistleblowing policies. This is followed by detailed information on the position in each of the jurisdictions covered. A teaser copy of the guide is available here; if you would like a copy of the full guide, please email Jules Campbell.