Sweden: New whistleblower protection law proposed

A law that would give special protection to workers who blow the whistle on serious wrongdoing in the workplace has been proposed by the Legislative Council in Sweden.

The proposed law would protect employees from reprisals by their employer when they report serious wrongdoing in their employers’ business. The protection would also extend to leased workers who report wrongdoing in the operations of the company leasing them. However, employees (and leased workers) would not be protected if they commit a crime in the act of whistle blowing.

According to the draft law, employees should first report the wrongdoing internally. Employees will only be protected when they make such reports externally if they had previously reported the matter internally, but the employer failed to take reasonable measures in response to the report, or if they had reasonable cause to make the report externally. In addition, the employee must have had reasonable (prima facie) grounds for making the accusation.

Employers breaching the legislation in relation to whistleblowers would be liable to pay damages to the employee in question. The legislative changes are proposed to come into force on January 1st 2017.

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