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Whistleblower reporting

Developments in Whistleblower legislation

Whistleblower reporting

Fraud, violation of legal provisions, compliance breaches and poor governance are serious risks for all organisations. Dishonest behaviour can undermine operating efficiency and reliability, while serious cases can severely damage an organisation's reputation. In our experience, effectively designed and operated whistleblower frameworks enable organisations to receive, assess, and as applicable, act upon reports to the benefit of the organisation. Whistleblowing regulation was fragmented in the European Union and is still not specified by law in Switzerland.

The role of a Whistleblower is frequently debated, with different conclusions reached by various individuals and organisations on the scope of protections, the circumstances whereby blowing the whistle is the right and correct course of action, and the existence and the extent of any positive social and economic benefit derived from Whistleblowing. The European Union (“EU”) and the Swiss Federal Council have sought to introduce clarity.

The EU has approved a Whistleblower directive (Directive of the European Parliament and The Council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law, hereinafter “Whistleblower Directive”) while the Swiss Federal Council proposed, in 2018, revised Whistleblower legislation for the consideration of the National Council (“Schutz bei Meldung von Unregelmässigkeiten am Arbeitsplatz”). In June 2019, the National Council rejected the Federal Council’s proposal, asking the Council to deliberate again. In Switzerland, the current legislation on whistleblowing is still uncertain, a draft bill exists but has not yet been formally adopted.

In light of these developments we have summarised the key requirements and set out the relationships between a Whistleblower, Undertaking and a Competent Authority as set out within the EU Whistleblower directive and the rejected Federal Council Whistleblower proposal, in order to help readers familarise themselves with the forthcoming EU requirements and understand the potential direction of travel within Switzerland [2].

[2] (Nb. Existing content of the Code of Obligation, some of which may be relevant to Whistleblowing, has not been considered nor referenced within this feature)

Explore and compare the new EU Directive and most recent Swiss proposal

The interactive diagram below sets out how a Whistleblower, Undertaking and Component Authority interact with each other. We encourage you to explore the accessible content and get in touch with our experts Susanne Hofmann and Gianfranco Mautone to continue this conversation in more depth.

Whistleblower

Whistleblowers acting in good faith regarding qualifying subjects are entitled to protection.

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Undertaking

The EU Directive requires that Undertakings with more than 50 employees and all Undertakings operating in regulated industries establish a Whistleblowing reporting framework. Undertakings have obligations to Whistleblowers and the Competent Authority. The Swiss proposal refers to “Employers” rather than Undertakings.

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Competent Authority

The EU Directive places additional obligations on Competent Authorities in respect of training, reporting and engagement with Undertakings.

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Public

Recent history has included high profile examples of Whistleblowers reporting directly to the public.

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Contact us

Gianfranco Mautone

Gianfranco Mautone

Partner and Forensic Services and Financial Crime Leader, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 17 60

Susanne Hofmann

Susanne Hofmann

Data Protection Officer, PwC Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Tel: +41 58 792 17 12