Amendments of the whistle blower rules

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The Parliament has today unanimously adopted the Government’s proposal for amendments of the Working Environment Act regarding whistle blowing. The purpose of the amendments is to simplify the whistleblowing process and to make whistleblowing safer.

The legislative changes follow up the preparatory work, NOU 2018:6 and clarify the personal scope of protection under the whistleblowing rules and some key legal concepts. The content of the key terms “censurable conditions”, “proper conduct” and “retaliation” will become statutory. The main purpose of the legislation is to make the terms more user-friendly and easier to understand. Some examples are given of cases that fall under these terms. The purpose of the legislation is also to clarify the procedure for whistleblowing, both for internal and external whistleblowing.

Furthermore, the amended rules mean that the employer cannot remain passive once an employee has blown the whistle. The employer must ensure that the whistleblowing is adequately examined within reasonable time. The employer is also obliged to ensure that the whistle blower enjoys an proper working environment.

The whistleblowing provisions have been extended to include certain groups that are not employees within the meaning of the law. In order to strengthen the protection of whistle blowers, consideration for a good climate of expression is also included as part of the purpose of the Working Environment Act. The amendments also entail other changes, such as the employer’s whistleblowing having to be written and that the routines must specify the procedure for the employer’s consideration of whistleblowing.

The legislative changes have been finalized by the parliament and the implementation of these amendments are effective from 1. January 2020.