The Whistle-blower Protection Law No. 93/2021 was published by the Parliament in Portugal on 20/12/2021. According to Article 31 of the law, it will enter into force 180 days after publication. I.e. from mid-June 2022, the provisions will apply accordingly.
Immediately after entry into force, the provisions will apply to companies with more than 50 employees. Accordingly, in Portugal there is no transitional period of two years for companies with 50 to 249 employees.
In addition to reports against Union law, potential whistle-blowers also fall under the protection of the law if they report breaches of national law. These include offences under Article 1(1) of Act No. 5/2002 of 11 January 2002 on Measures to Combat Organised Crime and Economic Crime.
Companies that fail to implement the law face fines of between 1000 and 125,000 euros. The National Anti-Corruption Agency is responsible for reviewing and collecting the fines.
The Portuguese Whistle-blower Protection Act imposes certain conditions on the use of an external reporting body, named in Article 7(a) to (e), thus creating hurdles that the whistle-blower must be aware of. If the whistle-blower nevertheless reports externally, he must prove according to Article 6 No. 3 that he had no knowledge of the requirements and that this lack of knowledge was not his personal fault. Companies are advised to train their employees internally in order to inform them about the requirements and to reduce the risk of an external report.
Article 21 lists measures that constitute reprisals against the whistle-blower and must be refrained from. For up to two years after the report, it is assumed that all listed measures against the whistle-blower are related to the original whistleblowing. What happens after the two years and whether the burden of proof lies with the whistle-blower or the company remains open.
The Portuguese law differs from the EU Directive regarding the receipt of anonymous reports. According to Article 10 No. 1, internal reporting channels must allow the receipt of anonymous reports.
With DISS-CO’s Smart Integrity Platform, companies can implement the law in Portugal for as little as EUR 50/month and enable employees and external parties to report anonymously and confidentially in a GDPR-compliant and user-friendly manner. Read here about the many features and benefits of the Smart Integrity Platform.
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