Tribune. We whistleblowers are paying a high price for daring to speak the truth. Reprisals, dismissal, loss of employability, endless legal proceedings, smear campaigns, these pitfalls are generally accompanied by financial damage or even family and relationship difficulties. This reality is not acceptable, as it is very dissuasive for all future whistleblowers. However, for each whistleblower who gives up, it is a serious dysfunction that persists. Ultimately, it is public information, necessary for any democratic society, that suffers.
The Sapin 2 law, adopted in 2016, laid the foundations for a relatively protective framework. In particular, its broad definition standardized several inconsistent devices and had to cover most situations: “A whistleblower reveals or reports a serious threat or damage to the general interest. ” Unfortunately, some of us have not been able to benefit from this law, in particular because it imposes a complex course.
It provides for a first level of alert consisting in sending the report internally, to a hierarchy which, if questioned, risks triggering reprisals or concealing evidence. In addition, the financial support initially provided for in the Sapin 2 law had not withstood the censorship of the Constitutional Council, for a purely legal reason. For many whistleblowers, however, this financial support constitutes crucial aid.
European law now offers France the opportunity to fill these gaps. Convinced of the need to secure alerts, a coalition of associations, unions and a few progressive MEPs won a hard fight a directive adopted in 2019 to significantly improve the protection of whistleblowers throughout Europe. If the official deadline has already passed, the process of transposition into French law is already well underway. Its beginnings were even very encouraging: the private member’s bill (MoDem) Sylvain Waserman introduced significant advances and was unanimously adopted on November 17, 2021 by the National Assembly.
The vote on the text in the Senate on January 19 worries us, however. The work in the Law Committee on December 15, 2021 indeed led to setbacks that are beyond comprehension. Much progress resulting from the proposed law disappears. This is the case with the protection granted to “Legal person facilitators”, that is to say to all associations likely to assist us in the alert and which expose themselves to various reprisals.
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“Improving the protection of whistleblowers is a vital issue for a living democracy”