Legally compliant whistleblowing in your company - country update in France

On 16 February 2022, the law to transpose European Directive 2019/1937 was definitively passed in France. It was confirmed by the Constitutional Council on 17 March 2022 and officially published on 21 March 2022 and entered into force on 1 September 2022.

A little more than a month after the law entered into force, the government finally passed the implementing decree, which is the prerequisite for the law’s effective application. Decree No. 2022-1284 of 3 October 2022 relates to the procedures for collecting and processing whistleblower reports and specifies the list of external authorities established by the legislature.

The publication of this decree thus concludes the process of transposing Directive 2019/1937 of 23 October 2019 on whistleblowers in France––even though France had received a reasoned opinion concerning incomplete transposition of the directive from the European Commission on 15 July 2022.

Only enterprises that employ at least 50 employees in two consecutive financial years are obligated to establish a procedure for gathering and processing reports.

Enterprises with fewer than 50 employees are not obligated to establish such a procedure; however, in accordance with the law of 21 March 2022, they must offer their employees a way to submit a report to their direct or indirect supervisor, their employer, or an aide designated by the latter.

Until now, enterprises with fewer than 250 employees were able to merge their procedures for gathering and processing reports, subject to a “unanimous decision [by the] relevant bodies” of each unit. The Decree explains that this is “possible in groups of undertakings in particular” without the need for a maximum number of employees that depends, for example, on the internationality of the parent company.

The internal channel for receiving reports must make it possible for anybody to submit a report, whether anonymous or not, in written or verbal form.

Autor: Maurice Hartmann