France adopts new whistleblower protection law

France adopts new whistleblower protection law

Kamila Caban |

On February 22, 2022, the French Parliament adopted new legislation - "Proposition de loi visant à améliorer la protection des lanceurs d'alerte", which reforms the existing law known as "Sapin II". France took these steps to align the whistleblower protection framework with the EU directive adopted at the end of 2019. The new rules are expected to enter into force in March 2022.

The bill was introduced to parliament by a former rapporteur for the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly - Sylvain Waserman. The adopted document includes provisions that go beyond the directive's minimum standards.

The Act covers the protection of mediators who deal with whistleblowing, including NGOs who help report violations. It has also been decided that reporting harm to the public interest will be protected, even if it does not constitute a breach of EU or national law. Personal liability for retaliatory actions was envisaged, including heavy fines (EUR 60,000) or imprisonment for up to 3 years.

In the coming months, more EU countries will certainly join France and will want to act in accordance with the new directive.

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