Germany: Federal Cabinet passes draft whistleblowing protection act
The Ministry of Justice announced, on 27 July 2022, that the Federal Cabinet of Germany had passed, on the same day, the draft Whistleblower Protection Act ('HinSchG'), which was presented by the Ministry in April 2022, to transpose the Directive on the Protection of Persons who Report Breaches of Union Law (Directive (EU) 2019/1937) ('the Whistleblowing Directive') into German law.
In particular, the Ministry noted that employees are often the first to notice abuses and may use their information to ensure that violations are uncovered, investigated, prosecuted, and prevented. Further to this, the Ministry pointed out that whistleblowers assume responsibility for society and therefore deserve protection from disadvantages that threaten them or deter them from reporting. Moreover, the Ministry noted that the draft HinSchG also protects companies and authorities, on account of the fact that an early intervention makes it possible to avoid liability claims and damage to reputation that could be associated with later external disclosure, so that effective whistleblower protection can also be an essential building block for a good compliance system.
Furthermore, the Ministry outlined that the draft HinSchG adopted by the Federal Cabinet will now be forwarded to the Federal Council ('Bundesrat') for comment and, after a counter-analysis by the Federal Cabinet, it will be passed to the Parliament ('Bundestag') for discussion.