WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

Published November 11, 2015

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Since 2009, Transparency International Lithuanian Chapter has been actively involved in the area of whistleblower protection. TI Lithuania advocates for stronger legal protection and the creation of a friendlier workplace environment for whistleblowers. In 2009, TI Lithuania, in partnership with the law expert Dr. Petras Ragauskas, prepared Whistleblower Protection Law Project (63,3 KB) and   Project’s Explanation (109,4 KB)  that were submitted for amendments to various institutions, such as the Special Investigations Service (STT), the Prosecution Service, the Police Department, the State Labour Inspectorate, the State Tax Inspectorate, the Financial Crime Investigation Service and the President. It was agreed from the beginning upon that protection is vital and TI Lithuania together with various institutions were looking for the best regulatory model for whistleblower protection. On 30th of September 2010, a group of MPs called the “For civic involvement in creating Lithuania without corruption” unexpectedly registered the Draft law on Whistleblower Protection. The proposal received sufficiently justified constructive criticism and input from various institutions (see the documents below).

TILC believes that the Draft Law on Whistleblower Protection registered at Seimas had the following underlying problems:

1. The activities that could be reported were too narrowly defined, i.e. only corrupt activities – but not other offenses – can be reported;

2. The list of addressees – the people and institutions that activities could be reported to – was too narrow. These only included institutions responsible for pre-trial investigation, excluding employers as well as the State Labour Inspectorate and the State Tax Inspectorate;

3. The application of whistleblower protection measures does not ensure adequate protection throughout – from the start of the pre-trial investigation to the end of criminal proceedings (TILC suggestions for the Whistleblower Protection Law Project ).

These and other problems distort the concept of protection for whistleblowers and do not provide whistleblowers with the necessary assurances.

The documents listed below present the views on the regulation of whistleblower protection from both Lithuanian institutions and foreign organizations:

Also, the resolution of LR Parliament of 16th June 2011 no. XI-1457 confirmed the National Fight Against Corruption Programme 2011-2014 . At part 9.3 it indicates ‘<…> Although Lithuania has adopted international laws in the area of whistleblower protection in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Žin, 2006, No. 136-5145 ) 33rd article (‘Whistleblower Protection’) and Civil Law Conventon against Corruption(Žin, 2002, No. 126-5733) ) 9th article (‘Employee Protection’); however, the existing national regulation is not effective enough. In order to fulfill its international obligations, encourage the disclosure and investigation of unethical activities, promote more effective protection of the public interest, and ensure an efficiently running mechanism, Lithuania has to analyze and practically evaluate already existing laws, regulating the whistleblower protection.’

This provision, on the one hand, obliges institutions to seek to establish appropriate whistleblower protection regulations. On the other hand, TI Lithuania is worried that an analogous obligation was already included in the annex of 2008-2009 NKKP , ‘The implementation plan for the national fight against corruption programme 2009-2010’ as measure no. 49. A further identical measure was suggested in the older version – 2002-2007 NKKP , as measure no. 40. However, the issue of whistleblower protection remains unsettled.

More information: drasuszodis.lt

TI Lithuania research in the area of whistleblower protection

ratukas1.jpg Hotlines in Lithuania: analysis and recommendations

Year: 2011
Research:  Icon download (817,2 KB)
About the research:

At the end of 2009 TI Lithuania sought to examine the reporting possibilities that were available to civil servants. TI Lithuania carried out a survey of the internal conditions created for employee whistleblowers at LR ministries and their subordinate institutions. At the same time, exploratory research into possibilities for external reporting was carried out performed. The aim of the study was to find out how many ‘hotlines’ were available at the national level. These two studies provided the grounds for wider analysis of reporting possibilities and a further follow-up work on whistleblower protection.

* More studies can be found at our research section.