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Whistleblower Protection Legislation and Mechanisms / Leah Ambler, OECD Anti-Corruption Division.
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Whistleblower Protection Legislation and Mechanisms / Leah Ambler, OECD Anti-Corruption Division.



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  • 1. Whistleblower Protection Legislation and Mechanisms Leah Ambler Anti-Corruption Division OECD
  • 2. Overview - Defining Whistleblower Protection Benefits to Combating Corruption Legal Sources Main Features of Protection Mechanisms - Private Sector Protection - Challenges to Overcome
  • 3. Whistleblower Protection • “Protection from discriminatory or disciplinary action public and private sector employees who report in good faith and on reasonable grounds suspicions of corruption to competent authorities” • Not to be confused with: – Witness Protection
  • 4. Use in combating corruption • Encourages reporting of misconduct, fraud and corruption; • Decreases corruption risks; • Increases detection of corruption; • Creates a more accountable workplace; • Helps authorities monitor compliance with anti-corruption laws.
  • 5. Legal Sources • Sectoral laws, e.g. anti-corruption laws, labour law, employment law, companies and securities laws, environmental protection laws. • Specific dedicated laws, e.g. comprehensive whistleblower protection laws, public interest disclosure laws. • International anti-corruption instruments, e.g. UNCAC, Council of Europe Civil and Criminal Law Conventions on Corruption, OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
  • 6. Features of Whistleblower Protection Mechanisms Mechanisms for Protection: – Protection against retaliation – Protection against civil and criminal liability – Anonymity and Confidentiality – Burden of Proof
  • 7. Features of Whistleblower Protection Mechanisms Reporting Procedures: – Prescribed channels for reporting – Hotlines – Incentives
  • 8. Features of Whistleblower Protection Mechanisms Enforcement Mechanisms: – Oversight and Enforcement Authorities – Availability of Judicial Review – Remedies and Sanctions for Retaliation
  • 9. Features of Whistleblower Protection Mechanisms Awareness-raising and Evaluation Mechanisms: • Promotion within places of employment; • Legal requirements for employers to keep employees informed of whistleblower mechanisms; • Periodic evaluation of effectiveness of whistleblower protection system; • Surveys
  • 10. Private Sector Protection Mechanisms • Domestic laws with comprehensive coverage of protected persons, e.g. Japan, Korea, United Kingdom, United States. • Voluntary measures taken by private sector • Impact of introduction of comprehensive anti-bribery laws, e.g. UK Bribery Act.
  • 11. Challenges • Insufficient knowledge of law • Fear of reprisals • Lack of meaningful implementation of the law • Confidentiality / loyalty provisions • Cultural, historical barriers
  • 12. Overcoming Challenges • Education • Awareness-raising of rules and procedures • Ensuring effective protection is provided • Creating an organisational culture of transparency which supports whistleblowing