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Protection of whistleblowers

The law of 9 December 2016 on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernisation of economic life, known as the "Sapin II" law, supplemented and harmonised the existing legislative framework in respect of whistleblowers.
France 2016
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Under this law a whistleblower is defined as "a natural person who discloses or reports, disinterestedly and in good faith, a crime or offense, a serious and manifest violation of an international commitment duly ratified or approved by France, a unilateral act of an international organisation taken on the basis of such an undertaking, the law or the regulation, or a threat or serious prejudice to the public interest, of which it has had personal knowledge ". This law assigns the support and protection of whistleblowers to the French public defenders office (Défenseur des droits).

The alert procedure allows a natural person to denounce the facts discovered, first to their employer. If their hierarchy does not act, they can then report to the relevant judicial or administrative authority or the professional association. Only in case of inaction of the persons alerted in the first two stages can report can be made public.

The disclosure of the identity of the authors of the report or that of the persons concerned as well as the information collected is punishable by 2 years of imprisonment and a fine of EUR 30 000.

View a Guide on the Protection of Whistleblowers (FR)

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