October 2019 saw Ukraine’s Parliament introduce the “Whistle-blowers Law”. This gives far-reaching protection to people who blow the lid on corruption in the Ukraine. But the new law has also sparked heated debate. The big question is: Will Ukraine’s new whistle-blower law punish innocent organisations?
Why are companies concerned? There are a number of reasons.
The Whistle-blowers Law allows the NAPC (National Agency for Prevention of Corruption), a national anti-corruption agency of the Ukrainian government, to file lawsuits on behalf of whistle-blowers, and to represent them in court.
Also, the new law guarantees whistle-blowers major labour-law protection from the instant that they report corruption, whether this be real or fake. Employees who report corruption cannot be fired, even if their report turns out to be untrue. It will be up to employers to prove that a corruption complaint is deliberately false. In reality, it will be very hard to show that a whistle-blower filed a fake or malicious whistle-blowing report on purpose, especially if the NAPC represents them in court.
These are just a few of the reasons that Ukrainian companies are apprehensive about the new Whistle-blowers Law.
On the other hand, however, who needs protection more: the whistle-blower, or the business they are reporting on?
By reporting misconduct, whistle-blowers often risk their lives and careers, and the lives of their families. Worldwide, we see countless cases of people being harassed, fired, arrested, sued, attacked, and even murdered for coming forward. So they need a strong legal safety net, plus anonymous tools like FraudCracker.com, to protect them against intimidation, and to allow them to report wrongdoing safely and anonymously. To make matters worse, if they are fired for whistle-blowing, they cannot afford legal aid.
So I’d argue that whistle-blowers need protective laws (plus the legal aid of government organisations like the NAPC), much more than the businesses they whistle-blow on.
The Whistle-blowers Law is a powerful, much-needed move in the right direction for whistle-blower protection in the Ukraine. And it sets a positive example for other countries to follow. Hopefully, just enforcement of the Ukrainian Whistle-blowers Law will give whistle-blowers the legal protection they so desperately need.