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Swiss commission supports new laws to protect whistleblowers

© Shawn Hempel |

A commission of the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, is in favour of new rules to protect whistleblowers.

The proposed rules, which would help to protect those who expose secretive information or activity that is deemed illegal or unethical, were supported by 6 commission votes to 2 with 4 abstentions.

The proposal, which would be incorporated into employment law, would follow the cascade principle put forward by the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive.

The cascade whistle blowing procedure would start with the employee alerting the employer, then the authorities, with disclosure to the public reserved as a last resort.

In addition, companies would be required to have a team tasked with receiving and dealing with alerts. This body would be required to accept anonymous alerts.

The rules have been designed to offer companies an opportunity to deal with irregularities internally.

The proposed new laws would only allow staff to come forward with certain types of alerts, such as evidence of fraud or corruption. Alerts related to violations of private contracts would not be included.

Nothing protecting whistleblowers from dismissal following an alert is included in the proposal.

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