Everything you need to know about whistleblowing

It's almost as if an imaginary sack has been torn open with the coming into force of the Whistleblower Protection Act. It is being talked about. And in some cases, even in the sense that the topic is being blown out of proportion. Let us explain what whistleblowing is, why it is important, and why you should not dismiss it with a wave of the hand, irrespective of whether you are an employee or not.

Whistleblowing translates as blowing the whistle. The use of a whistle in most situations signifies a warning of something forbidden. Something we shouldn't do within the rules of the situation and place. And it doesn't matter whether it's a lifeguard, a sports official, or an employee blowing it. The term whistleblowing refers specifically to a situation where an employee - current or former - calls attention to unethical or illegal practices in the workplace.

4 Employer's obligations

Why do we need a separate term, reporting systems, or even a law for something as obvious as reporting illegal practices? What may seem like an obvious step in theory takes very different forms in practice. Without the measures in place, they may well lead to the problem never being discovered, or being discovered much later and with more damage.

The Whistleblower Protection Act and its associated obligations make sense primarily because they aim to create a safe environment in which a problem can be freely raised with the appropriate authority by minimising, as much as possible, the risks the whistleblower could be exposed to. At the same time, they also ensure that employees know where and to whom to turn.

There are four basic obligations under the Whistleblower Protection Act:

  • Prohibition of Retaliation
  • Establishing an internal whistleblowing system
  • Designation of an appropriate person
  • Information duty

Fines of up to CZK 1 million

It is not always straightforward to determing who is covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act. However, the prohibition on retaliation applies to all employers. The rule of this prohibition is simple but fundamental. Employees should make a report knowing that they will not be punished for their efforts to do the right thing. The employer must not in any way persecute the employee who has made the report. Non-renewal of the employment contract, removal from a managerial position, or non-award of bonuses is not an option. If this does happen, the employer may be fined up to CZK 1 million.

Other obligations apply to employers with more than 50 employees.

Awareness as a basic step

Each obliged entity must provide its employees with the necessary information in the context of the Whistleblower Protection Act. This must be accessible remotely. The best place to do this is usually directly on a website. The information should include:

  • How to whistleblow. Employees should have access to information on how to report via the internal reporting system. There should also be a mention of how to report directly to the Ministry of Justice.
  • Who is the appropriate person. Including their contact details.
  • Whether the receipt of notifications is restricted and how. Typically, this may be where notifications from persons who are not and have not been employees of the obligated entity are excluded.

Internal and external notification system

An internal notification system should not only make the handling of notifications more efficient but also contribute to building trust. There are several platforms in the Czech Republic to which obliged entities can turn. One of them is Don't Let It Be. Such platforms provide many benefits, for example, they take over the whole process of receiving notifications.

In addition to these, there is an external reporting system managed by the Ministry of Justice. It primarily serves whistleblowers whose employers are not required to set up an internal whistleblowing system.

Notifications made through the internal or external notification system are always received by the relevant person. It is their task to assess whether the notification is justified. In other words, whether or not it falls under the Whistleblower Protection Act. The relevant person may be any natural person who is of good character, of legal age, and fully competent. However, when selecting a whistleblower, it must be kept in mind that he or she must be familiar not only with the Whistleblower Protection Act, but also with the regulations to which it refers.

Submission and assessment of the report

A key factor in the whole process is that only the relevant person has access to the notification and the identity of the employee. The latter will acknowledge receipt of the notification to the notifier within 7 days, and assess it within 30 days. In exceptional cases, the deadline may be extended by a further 30 days. However, this procedure can only be repeated twice.

As a rule, three situations arise. The person concerned:

  • Determines that the report does not fall under the Whistleblower Protection Act and notifies the whistleblower.
  • Concludes that the notification is not justified and advises the whistleblower of the right to file a notification with the public authority.
  • Assess that the notification is justified and propose remedial measures to the obliged entity, i.e. the employer.

We regularly report on whistleblowing and other topics on our Linkedin profile. If you would prefer to listen to something, watch the video of our webinar for schools.

If there is anything else you feel you need to know or help with, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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Livingstone, Tour Operator

Thank you again for your valuable advice. I breathe better when I know who to turn to.

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Anders Thorsen Advokatanpartsselskab

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you.

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