Czech Republic: Whistleblowing act and related amendment act published in Collections of Laws
On June 20, 2023, the Act on the Protection of Whistleblowers transposing the Whistleblowing Directive (the Act), together with the Act Amending Certain Acts in Connection with the Adoption of the Act on the Protection of Whistleblowers (the Amendment Act), was published in the Collection of Laws. Following the referral of the bill to the President of the Czech Republic, the Act was signed into law by the same on June 7, 2023, with the decision having been delivered to the House of Representatives on the same date. The Act, together with the Amendment Act, was then sent for publication in the Collection of Laws on June 14, 2023.
The Ministry of Justice explained that the Act provides for the protection of persons working in both the private and public sector in the event that they report wrongdoing that has occurred within the organization in which they work. In particular, employees, business partners of employers, self-employed persons, interns, volunteers, and persons who help the whistleblower to report or detect illegal conduct will be protected from retaliation. In practice, according to the Ministry of Justice, the protection of whistleblowers will be strengthened in particular by the substantive prohibition of retaliatory measures and the reversed burden of proof in disputes concerning retaliatory measures.
Internal and external reporting
The Act and the Amendment Act require private employers with at least 50 employees to establish internal whistleblowing channels and provide whistleblowers and other protected persons with protection from retaliation. Private entities employing between 50 and 250 employees have until December 15, 2023, to implement an internal reporting system. Further, whistleblowers can file a report with the Ministry of Justice, which operates an external reporting system.
Entry into effect
The Act and the Amendment Act will take effect on August 1, 2023.
On June 20, 2023, the Ministry of Justice announced its launch of a media campaign, the aim of which is to promote awareness in the private and public sector about the new Act and Amendment Act regarding the protection of whistleblowers. The Ministry of Justice noted that the English term whistleblowing is also used in the public space, with the campaign focusing, among other things, on explaining this term.