The Internal Whistleblowing System Must Be Adapted To Comply With The Law Designed To Improve The Protection Of Whistleblowers That Will Come Into Force On September 1, 2022

Published date17 June 2022
Subject MatterCorporate/Commercial Law, Employment and HR, Corporate and Company Law, Whistleblowing
Law FirmSoulier Avocats
AuthorClaire Filliatre

In order to strengthen the protection of whistleblowers and prevent the risks of retaliation measures within their company, Law No. 2016-1691 of December 9, 2016 on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernization of economic life (known as the "Sapin 2 Law") requires companies with more than 50 employees to set up an internal whistleblowing system.

Law No. 2022-401 of March 21, 2022 designed to improve the protection of whistleblowers requires companies to update their internal whistleblowing system.

Pursuant to Article 17 II 2' of the Sapin 2 Law, the internal whistleblowing system is "aimed at collecting reports from staff members about conducts or situations that violate the company's code of conduct" (I).

Law No. 2022-401 of March 21, 2022 designed to improve the protection of whistleblowers by expanding the recognition of the whistleblower status within the company and the reporting scope provided for by law and by removing the hierarchy of reporting channels requires companies to update their internal whistleblowing system (II).

I. Implementation of an internal whistleblowing system

The internal whistleblowing system is the procedure that companies implement to enable their staff to inform a dedicated contact person about conduct or situations that are potentially contrary to the code of conduct.

The French Anti-Corruption Agency recommends setting up a single technical platform for receiving reports not only from company's permanent staff members but also from external collaborators and casual contractors.1 It must be presented without delay to new hires.

The system applies to the reporting of a wide range of facts, including breaches of the rules governing public procurement, prevention of money laundering and tax evasion, protection of the environment, protection of privacy and personal data, state aids, etc.

The whistleblowing system must be secure and specify inter alia:

  • The type of information that can be reported;
  • The person who can make a report;
  • The channels for making reports: It could be a dedicated e-mail address, a management software program, or even, for some companies, a specific platform;
  • The procedures for whistleblowers to provide information and documents to back up their reports,
  • In case of internal investigations, the business information and documents submitted by the whistleblower that may be used for the purpose of such investigations;
  • The provisions made to notify without delay the whistleblower of due...

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