PH2_2018

COLUMN On 29 December 2017, the new “whistleblowing law” - Law 179/2017 - entered into force in Italy, granting “ provisions for the protection of employees who report misconducts they have learned in the workplace, both in the public and private sectors ”. The adoption came after a lengthy legislative process and had been many times solicited by many international organisations, such as OCSE, GRECO and the G20 Anti- Corruption Working Group . The objective to meet commitments made at international level and, especially, the strong campaign for adopting the law by the organisation Transparency International - IT , has driven Italy to adopt the new law, which reinforces whistleblower protection by supplementing the limited provisions passed in 2012 for public sector employees (Law 190/2012) and extending it to employees of private organisations. The new law amends article 6 of the the regulation on corporate administrative liability (Legislative Decree no. 231/2001) requiring the company organisational models - the compliance programmes - provided therein to include the implementation of one or more channels enabling the detailed reporting of misconducts (related to offences listed in Decree 231 and supported by precise and consistent evidence) learned at the workplace, as a means to safeguard company integrity. These channels – one of which shall enable the reporting through informatics systems – will have to ensure shielding of the whistle-blower’s identity. The whistleblowing law also provides that retaliatory and discriminatory measures, including employment termination, against the whistleblower are null and void and that the company organizational model must include sanctions for wilful or gross-negligent false reporting. In light of the new law provisions, there is a need for both Italian companies and foreign companies willing to do business in Italy to update their Compliance Programmes. On the other hand, the Italian Monitoring Body established by Legislative Decree no. 231/2001 for receiving whistleblowers’ reports, will have to review its operational procedures and tools, especially the Operational Rules which need to contemplate specific procedures for managing miscunduct reports in a manner that does not disclose the identity of the whistleblower. The new legislation therefore requires companies to take action to comply with the new provisions and, however, is a step forward in the direction of providing Italy with effective whistleblowing protection legislation. Law 179/2017 is in many aspects comparable to the French Sapin II law entered into force in 2016 which, among other things, made it compulsory for certain companies to adopt anti-corruption compliance programmes and to implement procedures for collecting reports by staff members and consultants - the so-called “Lanceur d’alerte” . On the other hand, many are the differences with the more advanced Anglo-Saxon laws. For instance, the law does not introduce any incentives to whistleblowers, despite the fact this specific matter has been broadly debated. Whistleblowing, monitoring body, reporting, 231. KEYWORDS: Powered by New law introduces broader protection for Italian “whistleblowing” workers Compliance 10 PHARMA HORIZON – vol. 2(2) 2018

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