Sweden was one of the first EU member states to implement the EU Directive on the protection of persons reporting misconduct.
The protection of whistle-blowers has already been guaranteed by law (2016:749) in Sweden since 2016. Accordingly, employees who report serious irregularities are to be protected from reprisals. If the employer violates the law, the employee is entitled to compensation.
For example, those connected to the whistle-blower, such as family members and suffering reprisals, do not enjoy the protection of the law. Moreover, internal and external reporting channels are not treated equally. While suspicion of irregularities is sufficient for internal reporting, there must be sufficient cause for serious irregularities to enjoy protection when reporting to external bodies. Whether the company must also investigate anonymous reports is not mentioned. Nor is there any further discussion of how to deal with confidentiality.
The law also does not provide for an obligation for
This is without prejudice to sector-specific requirements for the establishment of internal hotlines.
The Swedish Whistle-blower Protection Act (2021:890) entered into force on 17 December 2021 and replaces the existing Whistle-blower Protection Act from 2016. It is binding in favour of employees and does not limit the protection that may apply on other grounds. Public and private sector companies with more than 250 employees will have to provide appropriate reporting channels from 17 July 2022. Companies with between 50 and 249 employees will not have to act until 17 December 2023.
Municipalities and communities are not delimited by number of inhabitants. However, they can share a reporting channel and resources to handle the reports.
The protection applies if the whistle-blower had reasonable cause to believe that the information about the misconduct was true at the time the misconduct was reported. What constitutes reasonable cause would be subject to a case-by-case assessment.
Personal data may not be processed for more than two years after the case has been closed.
An authority is to check the implementation at the obligated party, but the authority has not yet been named. Fines are to be imposed as a sanction, but the amount of the fines has not been specified.
However, Sweden stands out positively as a pioneer in whistle-blower protection.
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