The EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report infringements of provisions of European Union law in the fields of privacy and personal data protection, environmental protection, product safety and conformity and consumer protection to the competent authorities was to be transposed into German law by 17 December 2021.
The Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ) published a draft bill on 13 April 2022. The law will therefore be implemented in the short term.
The material scope of the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) relates not only to violations of European law, but additionally to the reporting and disclosure of information on other violations of German legislation containing specifications on environmental protection. The requirements for the use or promotion of energy from renewable sources and energy efficiency are also covered under Section 2 (1) No. 3j HinSchG-RefE. This means that employees can invoke whistleblower protection with regard to climate and environmental protection by their company and, in the event of violations, also disclose the employer's trade secrets when reporting to the competent body if they have sufficient reason to believe that the transfer or disclosure of the trade secrets was necessary to uncover a violation (Section 6 HinSchG-RefE).
Persons providing information, including employees, are protected in accordance with Sections 33 et seq. HinSchG-RefE. This can lead to a reversal of the burden of proof in the case of sanctions under labor law and to far-reaching protection against dismissal.
As consultants for all questions regarding the new Whistleblower Protection Act, our specialists from the Labor Law Department (Labor: Labor Law Instruments as the Core of Corporate Management - Loschelder Rechtsanwälte) will be glad to assist you at any time.