December 5, 2019 - European Union

Update: The European Whistleblowing Directive: What You Should Know

On November 26, 2019 the Official Journal of the European Union published the European Whistleblowing Directive (“the Directive”). This means that EU member states must now implement the Directive into national law, and companies employing 250 or more workers must be in compliance with the Directive by December 17, 2021. However, companies in the private sector with 50 to 249 workers will have until December 17, 2023 to comply with the Directive and establish internal reporting channels as required under Article 8(3).

It is worth noting that the Directive does not specify whether the appropriate thresholds apply only to workers physically located in the EU. That said, in our view, a reasonable interpretation of the Directive would lead to the conclusion that any legal entity based or headquartered in the EU that employs 50 or more workers globally, regardless of the physical locations of those workers, would need to comply with the Directive. In the case of legal entities that are not based or headquartered in the EU, our view is that such entities that employ 50 or more workers located in the EU would fall under the scope of the Directive. This is because almost all EU statutory instruments related to worker protection apply to workers located in the EU and disregard the location of their employer’s head office. In other words, a company with its head office in Brazil employing 50 workers in France would likely be covered by the Directive’s scope. We hope that EU Member States will provide additional clarity on this point once they implement the Directive within their domestic legislation. 

To find out more about the Directive and what it means for your organization, please visit the original article here.

Morrison & Foerster trainee solicitor Tom Macintosh Zheng has contributed to the writing of this post.