Whistleblower Reward Laws in the United Kingdom and Europe
The European Union
The European Commission has adopted a legislative proposal which protects whistleblowers who report a range of breaches of E.U. law. The proposed directive will protect whistleblowers against dismissal, demotion and other forms of retaliation and requires national authorities to inform citizens and provide training for public authorities on how to deal with whistleblowers.
The proposed directive does not introduce financial rewards for whistleblowers and is yet to be adopted by both the European Parliament and Council before coming in to force.
Our London based Partner, Mary Inman, has presented on the European Commission’s proposed Whistleblowing Directive.
United Kingdom – Cartel Investigations
Currently, the U.K. does not have a mechanism in place for rewarding whistleblowers. The issue was considered in 2014 but was rejected in a parliamentary report. Whistleblowers are however protected by law thanks to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates all financial services firms and markets in the U.K., has rules and regimes with regards to internal whistleblowing in financial institutions.
The Competition Markets Authority, the U.K.’s primary competition and consumer authority, offers a reward of up to £100,000 for whistleblowers who report illegal cartel activity.
Hungary – Cartel Investigations
The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, “GVH”) introduced the Informant Rewards Program. An informant who provides “indispensable information” about “hardcore” cartel activity to the GVH may be entitled to receive a reward of 1% of the fine levied, up to HUF 50 million (around US $ 179,000).
Slovakia – Cartel Investigations
Under the Protection of Economic Competition Act, whistleblowers who provide information to the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic relating to a cartel agreement may be financially rewarded.
The reward to the whistleblower will be paid out of the fines imposed on the participants of the cartel agreement, amounting to 1% of the sum of all fines imposed on all parties to the agreement, up to a maximum of €100,000.