Italy's Anti-corruption law, known as the Severino law (1), was promulgated in 2012. The Severino law included public sector whistleblower protection provisions but it did not include protections for many private sector whistleblowers. On November 30, 2017 a new law ("Law 179") was passed that included enhanced protections for public sector employees as well as more general protections for private sector whistleblowers. (2)
Some of the important elements of Law 179 as it relates to public sector employees include:
- A public employee that reports illegal conduct is not to be retaliated against
- The anti-retaliation provisions for public employees now include employees of public economic entities, private law employees subject to public scrutiny, and to employees of contractors of companies supplying goods or services to the public administration
- Allows for the reporting of violations to an internal officer, to the National Anti-Corruption Authority (3), an accounting authority, or to the judiciary
- Reinforces the protection of the anonymity of a whistleblower
Some of the important elements of Law 179 as it relates to private sector employees:
- Extends private sector employee protections beyond just the finance sector, insurance companies, and specific activities such as worker health and safety (4,5,6)
- Requires companies that already have compliance programs to develop a whistleblower reporting program that includes at least one reporting mechanism allowing employees to report illegal conduct or potential violations and at least one confidential reporting mechanism that protects the whistleblower's identity
- Requires companies should have a department responsible for managing the whistleblower program, procedures that provide guidance on what is covered and the protections provided, and allow for the discipline of employees that violate the procedures
- Includes a prohibition against whistleblower retaliation
- The Company bears the burden of proof when a whistleblower makes a retaliation claim
Law 179 entered into force on December 29, 2017.
- (1) Gazzetta Ufficiale - "Law n. 190 - 6 November 2012"
- (2) Gazzetta Ufficiale - "Law n. 179 - 30 November 2017"
- (3) Italy National Anti-corruption Authority (ANAC) - "Autorita Nazionale Anticorruzione"
- (4) EU - "Directive 2013/36" June 26, 2013
- (5) EU - "Directive 2015/849" May 20, 2015
- (6) EU - "Directive 2016/1034" June 23, 2016