Portugal: Whistleblower protection law already in force

Deepak Gupta June 19, 2022
Updated 2022/06/19 at 1:10 PM

ever heard of Law No. 93/2021, (whistleblowing) of December 20, which establishes the general regime for the protection of whistleblowers of infringements? This law transposes Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 23 October 2019, on the protection of persons who report violations of Union law.

Companies with more than 50 employees have to create whistleblowing channels. Find out more about this new law that went into effect this past Saturday.

Law No. 93/2021 establishes the general regime for the protection of whistleblowers of infringements, transposing into the domestic legal order Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 23 October 2019, on the protection of people who denounce violations of Union law.

Anyone who reveals illicit and criminal activities within companies is now "protected" with this law.

But who can be the whistleblower?

This "new" law says that a whistleblower is one who exposes an illegality based on information obtained in the course of professional activity.

The directive is for public or private sector workers. You also don't need to be an employee of the company's staff to report a crime: the protection of this directive also applies to interns and volunteers, service providers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.

Companies with 50 or more workers are required to create internal reporting channels. Complaints may be submitted in writing and/or verbally by workers, and may be anonymous or include the identification of the complainant.

What types of crimes can be reported?

Under the law, infractions, acts or omissions of matters that concern:

  • i) Public contracting;
  • ii) Financial services, products and markets and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing;
  • iii) Product safety and compliance;
  • iv) Transport security;
  • v) Protection of the environment;
  • vi) Radiation protection and nuclear safety;
  • vii) Food and feed safety, animal health and animal welfare;
  • viii) Public health;
  • ix) Consumer protection;
  • x) Protection of privacy and personal data and security of the network and information systems;

Any institutional attitude of a violent, abusive nature, or related to economic-financial organized crime, is also included in the list of transgressions that can be reported.

The whistleblower channel must allow the safe submission and follow-up of the whistleblower, from the beginning to the end of the process. It must guarantee the integrity of the exposed topic, prioritizing the confidentiality of the identity or anonymity of the whistleblowers and preventing access by unauthorized persons.

If you do not follow the guidelines set out there, you may have to pay a fine of up to €250,000! All institutions have until June 30th to adapt.

Whether it's an internal or external complaint, institutions have up to seven days to communicate their receipt and informin a clear and accessible way, the next steps to be taken.

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