Italy: approved the law in protection of whistleblowing

On 15 November 2017, the Italian Parliament finally approved a law which, amending some current Italian regulations, introduces the regulation of the whistleblowing in the country.

The law will enter into force upon publication in the Italian Official Gazette and it both protects those public and private sector employees who report misconducts that happen within the work place, and regulates the employer’s obligations in order to facilitate the whistleblowing process.

The Italian Deputies Chamber approved the regulation after almost one year of parliamentary debate and aims to introduce a clear regulation concerning whistleblowing issues. The provisions it contains, indeed, have already been applied de facto by several companies, above all multinational ones.

The law identifies and clarifies the following main points how to and to whom the employee has to report the misconduct; the measures to be implemented by the employer in order to protect the whistleblower; the sanctions applied to the employer in the event of retaliation and/or discrimination of the whistleblower; the whistleblower may also be entitled to reveal information covered by confidentiality according to the criminal and civil code.

The law provides a separate process for public and private sector employees, specifying to whom the employee must report the misconduct and what protection is set in case of discrimination against the whistleblower.

Further, private sector companies adopting the organisational model provided by the Legislative Decree no. 231/2001, must first of all identify specific ways to make possible to all the employees to report potential misconduct within the work place and to guarantee the confidentiality concerning the identity of the whistleblower; and, then, provide specific sanctions concerning fraud or gross negligence against any individuals who violate the protection measures specified above.

What is more, the employee can report any discrimination to the National Labour Inspectorate, with or without a union representative, and any dismissal, change of duties or any other measure adopted by the employer towards the whistleblower for discriminatory reasons will be null and void.

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