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Legislation

The House for Whistleblowers Act has come into effect

vrijdag 5 augustus 2016

On 1 July 2016, the Dutch House for Whistleblowers Act (Wet Huis voor Klokkenluiders) came into effect. Pursuant to this act, employees who have a suspicion of abuse within the organisation for which they work can turn to the House for Whistleblowers if the employer does not have a (adequate) procedure in place or the employer has failed to handle an internal report correctly.

The act aims to improve the conditions for reporting abuse, by making it possible for abuse to be investigated and providing better protection to those who report abuse.

As of 1 July 2016, employees who have at least 50 employees are obliged to adopt regulations on handling reports of suspected abuse within their organisation. These regulations must in any case include the following:

  • the manner in which the internal report is handled;

  • when there is a suspicion of abuse (which definition must be based on the legal definition);

  • to which designated officer(s) the suspicion of abuse must be reported;

  • the obligation of the employer to treat the report confidentially if the employee so requests;

  • the fact that the employee has the option of consulting an advisor confidentially about a suspicion of abuse.

The criterion of having ‘at least 50 employees’ is in line with the number criterion that applies to the set-up of a Works Council. The Works Council has been granted a statutory right of consent with regard to the decision to adopt, amend or revoke the internal whistleblowers regulations. The Advice Centre for Whistleblowers has created an information and implementation package and has made it available via its website. This website also contains model regulations.

With the abovementioned regulations, primary responsibility for dealing with abuse rests with the employer. If the internal report fails to lead to a solution, the employee can turn to the House for Whistleblowers, which will investigate the matter and provide the reporter with advice and support.

Furthermore, the law stipulates that employees who make a report are offered legal protection. The law introduces a ban on prejudicing employees who have an employment agreement or official position. The employer may not terminate the employee's employment agreement based on the fact that he has reported the abuse properly and in good faith. In addition, if the investigation shows that it is plausible that there has been an abuse, the employer is forbidden from terminating the employment agreement based on circumstances related to the report within a year of completion of the investigation. In addition, the employee may not be prejudiced in connection with a report. In all cases, the employee must have reported the abuse properly and in good faith in order to be entitled to the abovementioned legal protection.

In short, the House for Whistleblowers Act aims to bring abuse to light faster by offering whistleblowers protection. In addition, the law allows for social abuse to be investigated.

If you have any questions about this subject, you can contact our office 0031 10 209 2777 or by e-mail info@lvh-advocaten.nl

Rob Steenhoek

insolvencies and reorganisation, business and shareholders

+31 (0)10 209 27 52 steenhoek@lvh-advocaten.nl
Justin de Vries

insolvencies and reorganisation, business and shareholders

+31 (0)10 209 27 52 devries@lvh-advocaten.nl
Bouwe Bos

litigation

+31 (0)10 209 27 63 bos@lvh-advocaten.nl
Lisa Kloot

employment Law and employer representation

+31(0)10 209 27 61 kloot@lvh-advocaten.nl

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