Latvia: Cabinet of Ministers approve draft whistleblowing bill
The Latvia Cabinet of Ministers ('the Cabinet') announced, on 21 September 2021, that it had approved a new draft law, the Law on Raising Alarms ('the Draft Law'). In particular, the Draft Law was developed to allow Latvia to join the common criteria in the EU for the establishment of alarm channels and standards, as well as protection guarantees for whistleblowers. Specifically, the Cabinet stated that the Draft Law clarifies the areas and infringements that are of particular concern and include, among others, irregularities in the EU budget, breaches of transport safety, animal welfare, and actions affecting climate change. However, the Cabinet highlighted that this list is not exhaustive and that the whistleblower is entitled to report an infringement that is detrimental to the public interest in any area. In addition, the Cabinet outlined that the Draft Law also proposes a number of changes for the private sector and that the basic requirements for reviewing reports and identifying those responsible, which can be found in the guidelines in the form of recommendations, are enshrined in law.
Furthermore, the Cabinet stated that in the financial sector, regardless of the number of employees, small businesses working in the field of transport safety and environmental protection, will have to set up an internal alert system. Moreover, the Cabinet noted that in order to guarantee the protection of the whistleblower, the Draft Law expands the list of possible adverse consequences and includes, for example, the revocation of permits. Lastly, the Cabinet stated that the Draft Law also stipulates that, in the future, protection against adverse consequences caused by raising an alarm will apply not only to the whistleblower and his or her relatives, but also to related persons, who may be colleagues, merchants, or legal persons in private law with whom the whistleblower is related.