ECS releases Whitepaper on Whistleblower legislation in Switzerland

With a view to the Swiss Parliament’s special session which starts on 4 May 2015 and in particular the National Council’s discussion of the legislative proposal on whistleblower protection, scheduled for 5 May 2015, ECS’ Working Group on Whistleblowing established a White Paper comparing the Swiss legislative proposal with international standards and best practice.

ECS’ White Paper shows that the Swiss whistleblower proposal falls short of international standards on the possibility to file reports anonymously and on protecting whistleblowers from retaliation. According to the legislative proposal, whistleblowers who report in good faith can still be dismissed and companies retaliating against whistleblowers are not subject to adequate penalties or criminal fines.

Furthermore, the legislative proposal foresees a de facto ban of reports to the public (i.e. to journalists or specialised organisations) even in the case of severe misconduct and inactivity of the competent authorities. The White Paper recommends that the Swiss legislative proposal be revised in order to explicitly state that anonymous reporting is permitted, that retaliation against whistleblowers is illicit, null and void, and subject to penalties and that – as a last resort – reports to the public are permitted.

ECS Whitepaper on Whistleblowing April 2015