Whistleblower Protection Act
The Finnish Whistleblower Protection Act (1171/2022) Wentered into force on 1st of January 2023. The goal of the new legislation is to create effective protection for whistleblowers who notice violations in certain European Union or national regulations in connection with their work. The act gives protection to the whistleblower who has made the report: the report must be handled confidentially, and countermeasures must not be applied to the whistleblower.
ALTEN Finland has founded an electronic notification channel in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act, through which a report can be made about misconduct or breach detected in ALTEN Finland’s operations. The electronic notification channel can be found here: ALTEN Finland Whistleblowing reporting channel
Below is a more detailed description of the Whistleblower Protection Act, making a report and its internal processing.
What breaches may be reported?
Breaches of European Union or national law may be reported, if they
- are punishable offenses
- may result in a penalty fee, or
- may seriously endanger the realization of public interest.
There are three general conditions for whistleblower protection:
- At the time of reporting, the notifier has a justified reason to believe that the information about the violation is true.
- Information about the violation falls within the sector of the Whistleblower Protection Act.
- The whistleblower reports the misconduct observed in connection with his work.
Deliberately provided false information is punishable and may lead in liability for damages.
Which violations and abuses fall within the sector of the Whistleblower Protection Act?
Reports may be made about breaches in the following sectors:
- Public procurement (excluding defence and security spending)
- Financial services, products, and markets
- Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
- Product safety and conformity
- Traffic safety
- Environmental protection
- Radiation and nuclear safety
- Food and feed safety and animal health and welfare
- Public health (as defined by Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union)
- Consumer protection
- Privacy and personal data protection
- Network and information system security.
In addition, the following may be reported:
- Violation of rules concerning European Union fund management or expenditure implementation or European Union income or fund collection
- Violation of rules concerning the granting, use, or recovery of grants or state aid
- Violation of competition rules
- Violation of tax rules for businesses and corporations or arrangements made to obtain a tax advantage
- Violation of legislation enacted to protect consumers.
As an exception to the scope, the Act does not apply to violations of the Medicines Act with regard to a private person bringing their personal medication into a country, social welfare service housing and 24-hour service housing, certain provisions of the Act on the Medical Use of Human Organs, Tissues and Cells, and certain provisions of the Act on Cross-Border Health Care.
Whistleblower protection and conditions for obtaining protection
With whistleblower protection, whistleblower can report abuse safely and in such a way that their identity is protected. Information about the identity of the whistleblower must be kept secret even in the further processing of the report.
Whistleblower protection prohibits countermeasures towards the whistleblower. The employer cannot, for example, weaken the terms of the whistleblower’s employment relationship, terminate the whistleblowers employment, or lay off the whistleblower due to the report.
There are three general conditions for whistleblower protection:
- At the time of reporting, the whistleblower has a justified reason to believe that the information about the violation is true.
- Information about the violation falls within the section of the Whistleblower Protection Act.
- The whistleblower reports of the breach observed in connection with his work.
Whistleblower protection can be granted to an employee of ALTEN Finland, former employee of ALTEN Finland, intern, jobseeker, subcontractor or employee of a subcontractor, board member or CEO.
In addition, a person who assists the whistleblower in the reporting procedure or a person who has connections with the whistleblower, if they could be subject to countermeasures due to their work, as well as a legal entity that is owned by the whistleblower or where the whistleblower works, and who could be subject to countermeasures, can also receive protection.
The requirement for whistleblower protection is that the report has been made through ALTEN Finland’s own reporting channel, unless, according to law, the report can be made to the centralized external reporting channel of the Office of the Chancellor of Justice or directly to the competent authority.
The whistleblower’s protection is also available to a person who has filed the report anonymously, but who can be identified later.
How to file a report
Any breach referred to in the Whistleblower Protection Act observed in ALTEN Finland’s operations must be reported primarily through ALTEN Finland’s reporting channel using an electronic form. (Link)
In some situations, the report can also be made to the centralized external reporting channel of the Office of the Chancellor of Justice or directly to the competent authority.
The report must include:
- name and contact information of the whistleblower, such as email address, phone number or address information, unless the notification is made anonymously
- information about which person and misconduct or breach the report concerns
- a more detailed explanation of the breach
- information about what is the relation between the whistleblower and the person whom the report is concerning
How the report is handled
ALTEN Finland’s Whistleblowing team is responsible for handling the reports. The Whistleblowing team consists Legal Counsel, HSEQ Manager and HR Specialist. The Whistleblowing team processes the reports in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act and takes the necessary procedures to investigte whether the notification is correct and, if necessary, to address the violation.
If the report has not been made anonymously, the whistleblower will receive an acknowledgement of receipt within seven days of the report.
If the report has not been made anonymously, the whistleblower will also be informed within three months from the acknowledgement of receipt, which actions will be implemented based on the report.
ALTEN Finland deletes the information coming through the reporting channel after five years from receiving the report, unless the retention of the information is necessary for the implementation of the rights or obligations stipulated the Whistleblower Protection Act or other applicable legislation, or for the preparation, presentation, or defence of a legal claim. Personal data that is clearly not relevant to the processing of the notification will be deleted without undue delay.
Reporting to the Chancellor of Justice’s centralized external notification channel or directly to the competent authority
The report can be made to the centralized external notification channel of the Office of the Chancellor of Justice or directly to the competent authority, if:
- the whistleblower has not been given the opportunity to report through the internal reporting channel
- the whistleblower has a justified reason to believe that, based on the internal report, the actions in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act have not been taken within the legal deadline,
- the whistleblower has reasonable grounds to believe that the violation cannot be effectively addressed based on an internal report or
- the whistleblower has a justified reason to believe that he or she is in danger of facing countermeasures because of reporting.
The report can also be made directly to the competent European Union institution or institution.
Instructions for sending a report to the Chancellor of Justice’s centralized external reporting channel can be found here: here.
For further information, please contact ALTEN Finland Whistleblowing Team: email@example.com.