What is a Whistleblower?

In a time where transparency and accountability are crucial for healthy and effective institutions, whistleblowers play a critical role. But what exactly is a whistleblower, and why is this role so vital in today's society? In this article, we will explore the definition of a whistleblower, the legislation that protects them, and the significance of whistleblowing in various sectors.

Definition of a Whistleblower

The Danish Ministry of Justice defines a whistleblower as: "A natural person who reports or discloses information about violations to which the person has gained access in connection with their work-related activities."

In other words, a whistleblower is an individual who discloses critical or illegal activities within companies, organisations, or public institutions where they are involved.

Legislation and Protection

Whistleblowers expose themselves to significant personal risk, including employer reprisals or other negative consequences. This is because organisations do not always want the knowledge held by the whistleblower to come to light. In many countries, legislation has been introduced to protect whistleblowers from these risks.

The EU Whistleblower Protection Directive (2019/1937) sets minimum standards for protecting whistleblowers in the EU. Member states were to implement the directive by December 17, 2023.

In Denmark, a whistleblower protection law was passed and entered into force on December 17, 2023. The law implements most of the principles of the directive and imposes requirements on all companies and organisations with more than 50 employees.

The Impact of Whistleblowing

The impact of whistleblowing can be immense. By bringing hidden information to the public's attention, whistleblowers can help promote justice, ensure public safety, and improve public and private practices. Historical examples include disclosures of environmental pollution, financial fraud, and abuse of power, all of which have led to significant societal changes and improvements.

Key Takeaways:

  • Whistleblowers are individuals who report or disclose information about wrongdoing they have witnessed, typically in their workplace.

  • Whistleblowers are vital in promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance.

  • Whistleblowers face significant risks, including retaliation from their employers, but they are protected by legislation in many countries.

  • The impact of whistleblowing can be substantial, leading to positive changes in society.

Get started in 10 minutes or less

Copyright © 2024 Sheltr. All rights reserved.