New whistleblower protections must cover also those exposing abuse of workers’ rights
The European Parliament’s committee on legal affairs today backed new proposals to protect whistleblowers reporting breaches of European Union law. The S&D Group has been pushing for years for these protections, in the face of opposition from right-wing groups.
S&D MEP and European Parliament negotiator for protection of whistleblowers, Virginie Rozière said:
“Earlier this year the New York Times and Guardian revealed that tens of millions of Facebook users’ data had been misused for political purposes by Cambridge Analytica. This story only became known because someone within the firm went public with what they saw as deeply unethical and illegal behaviour. This has also been true for many of the tax scandals revealed in the last few years, from Luxleaks to the Panama Papers. We only learnt the full details of how large corporations and extremely wealthy individuals hide their money offshore because of brave whistleblowers exposing the dodgy dealings of the 1%.
“All too often it is those who expose wrongdoing that face consequences rather than those committing it. That is why our Group pushed the European Commission to finally come up with new legislation to protect whistleblowers wherever they are in the EU. This was a long and difficult fight, with lobbyists from large multinationals and right-wing groups pushing back strongly against any kind of provisions.
“The proposals from the European Commission were not strong enough, however we have now greatly improved these. We have ensured that those exposing breaches of health and safety regulations and other workers’ rights provisions are covered. We also made sure that whistleblowers themselves can decide if it is appropriate to report misconduct within the organisation or externally.
“A lot of the time, whistleblowers face other forms of retaliation from organisations beyond legal measures. We have ensured that all forms of retaliation will now be illegal, including everything from discrimination to damaging a person’s reputation or dismissal and that whistleblowers are well informed of their rights.
“It is now essential that these proposals are finalised as soon as possible. We urge national governments to approve these measures without delay.”