President promulgates Whistleblower Protection Law

Take note – story published 5 years ago

President Raimonds Vejonis has promulgated the Whistleblower Protection Law, which is intended to encourage people to expose various violations and ensure that the whistleblowers are protected against possible retaliation.

The Whistleblower Protection Law will come into effect on May 1, 2019.

Saeima passed the Whistleblower Protection Law in the final reading on October 11.

According to the law, persons who have a good reason to suspect that an administrative or criminal violation has occurred at a public institution are to report this to the authorities.

The Law defines a whistleblower, how to spread alarm and stipulates the basic requirements for processing the whistleblower’s report.

The Law provides for several elements of whistleblower protection, for example, the prohibition to create adverse effects on the whistleblowers (to dismiss from a job, to punish, to demote etc.), if one has made a whistleblower report, the protection of the identity of the whistleblower and a free legal aid provided by the State.

The Law stipulates that to report ("spread alarm") means to give professional activity related information in good faith on a possible infringement that can undermine public interest, if there are grounds to believe that this infringement is taking place, is being planned or has occurred.

Helpfully, Latvia's government website has additional information about the law available in English.

"It is particularly important to spread alarm in the public interest" in the  following areas, according to the government website: inactivity, negligence or abuse of authority by a public official; corruption; fraud; waste of financial assets and property of a public person; tax evasion; public health; food safety; construction safety; environmental safety; occupational safety; public order disturbance; human rights; public procurement; financial and capital market sector; competition law.

"The whistleblower will be able to spread alarm in two ways – internally (at the workplace) or externally (to the competent authority). The Law also stipulates the cases where the alarm can be spread by publicly disclosing the information. The whistleblower can spread alarm through the Whistleblowers Contact Point, associations and foundations, trade unions or their associations," says the official information.

However, the law does not come into effect until May 1, 2019.

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