Whistleblowing in the Slovak labor law regulation

Author:Danie KROSLÁK - Andre OLSOVSKÁ
Position:University of Trnava, Slovakia - University of Trnava, Slovakia
Pages:7-24
SUMMARY

Corrupt behaviour is a common practice with negative effects on the whole of society. For instance, if a company wins a public procurement contract in an unfair way, it enriches itself not only at the expense of competition, but also at the expense of the whole of society, as the best applicant has not necessarily been selected within such a procurement . The same applies in the case of a... (see full summary)

 
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STUDIES AND COMMENTS
Whistleblowing in the Slovak labor law regulation
Assistant Professor Daniel KROŠLÁK
1
Associate Professor Andrea OLŠOVSKÁ
2
Abstrac t
Corrupt beh aviour is a common practice with nega tive e ffects o n th e who le of
society . For insta nce, if a company win s a public pro curement contra ct in an unfai r way, it
enrich es itself not only at the expe nse of compet ition, but also at the expe nse of the whole of
society , as the best applican t has not necessa rily been select ed within su ch a procurement .
The same applies in the case of a supplier launchi ng an unsafe prod uct ont o the mark et,
threat ening t he healt h of everyo ne who buys it. In o rder to p revent such malp ractice and
elimina te th eir neg ative effects, the c ooperatio n of persons aware o f such beh aviours is
necessary . In order to ensure such c ooperatio n, h owever, the existence of i nstruments
protec ting whistl e-blowers aga inst various sa nctions (esp ecially by empl oyers) is
necessary . As S lovak legislati on did not i nclude a regulat ion of proced ures for reporti ng
malpract ice and protecti ng whistl e-blowers, a new la w aimed at solvin g such issues was
enact ed in Oct ober, 2014 . The give n legal regul ation too k effect on Janu ary 1, 2015. This
paper ende avours to provide basi c knowled ge of the envi ronment th at the given regula tion
entered , as well as i nformation on the po ssibilities o f indivi duals to prot ect social in terests
on its gro unds.
Keywords: malpract ice, antisocia l activity, emplo yee, p rotection o f a whistle -
blowe r of a serious an tisocial a ctivity, repo rt.
JEL Cla ssification: K31
1. Introduction
The issue of protecting people who in the public interest notify legal
authorities of a problem they have become aware of via carrying out their work (so
called whistleblowing
3
), has currently resonated strongly in public debate. In its
broadest sense, whistleblowing can be defined (in accordance with the definition of
the International Labour Organisation) as an employee´s notification of the illegal,
irregular, dangerous or unethical practices of an employer. According to
1
Daniel Krošlák - School of Law, University of Trnava, Slovakia, daniel.kroslak@gmail.com .
2
Andrea Olšovská - School of Law, U niversity of T rnava, Slovakia, aolsovska@gmail.com .
3
One of the first to use this term in the given context was consumer advocate Ralph Nader in 1972,
who defined it as: “an act of a man or woman who, believing that the public interest overrides the
interest of the organization he serves, blows the whistle that the organization is involved in corrupt,
illegal, fraudulent, or harmful activity.” See: NADER, R. In NADER, R., PETKAS, P . J. and
BLACKWELL, K. (eds.): Whistle Blowing: The Report of the Conference on Professional
Responsibility. New York: Gros sman, 1972, p. vii.
Volume 5, Issue 2, December 2015 Juridical Tribune
8
Transparency International, whistleblowing is considered to be a process of
revealing an unlawful activity in a certain organisation by providing information to
persons who should be able to interfere.
4
Any action or behaviour perceived by society as negative, able to cause
detriment and result in an unlawful state, has different punitive consequences (e.g.
resulting damage, responsibility for infringement or a criminal offence) and can
generally be denoted as malpractice.
5
Many cases have appeared in the media, frequently indicating the fact that
valid legal regulation (whether Slovak or other) does not provide the people
revealing malpractice in the public interest sufficient protection.
6
Therefore, in
preparing their 2012 2016 Statement of Policy, the Slovak Government
committed itself to strengthen the protection of whistle-blowers of corrupt
behaviour, also by adopting new legislative measures. A government bill
introducing some measures related to reporting antisocial activities was s ubmitted
to the legislative process during 2014, and its final form was approved by
Parliament on October 16, 2014 (Act 307/2014 Coll. on some measures related to
reporting antisocial activities and on change and amendment of some laws,
effective since January 1, 2015, hereinafter as “Act 307/2014”).
This paper will introduce the essentials of the original and newly adopted
regulation. As the majority of the active population is in the position of employees,
particular attention will be paid to the private sphere and to the possibilities of
reporting malpractice at the workplace. We will not deal with the issue of
whistleblowing in relation to special employee categories like civil servants,
4
Cf. Analýza whistleblowingu a ochrany oznamovatelů, p. 4. The document is available online at:
<http ://www.korupce.cz/assets/protikorup cni-temata/Analyza-whist leblowingu-a-ochrany-
oznamovatelu.pdf>
5
Cf. Analýza whistleblowingu a ochrany oznamovatelů, p. 4. The document is available online at :
<http ://www.korupce.cz/assets/protikorupcni-temata/Analyza-whist leblowingu-a-ochrany-
oznamovatelu.pdf>
6
With regard to the situation in Slovakia, t he activities of the non-governmental organisations,
Aliancia Fairplay and Via Iuris, which have been awarding courageous p eople acting according t o
the principles and values of common interest w ith t he “White Crow” award since 2008, can be
highlighted. It is an award and acknowledgement to peop le w ho have shown civil courage by
concrete action, who have supp ressed their p ersonal interests in the name of public benefit, values
and principles and who have taken t he risk, experienced various injustices or condemnation. Since
2008 22 outstanding individuals w ere awarded at the 7 annual White Crow Award events. Among
the laureates, there w ere citizens of Pez inok who have been fighting against unwanted landfill for
more than 10 years; Zuz ana Melicherčíková who as an employee of the Faculty of Law (Comenius
University) referred to susp icious admitting of students or Ivan Cehelský, who has p rotected nature
of Strážov Hills despite several attacks which even led to setting fire to his beloved cottage or the
teacher O to Ž arnay, who drew attention t o the disadvantageous contract of the s chool. In 2014 a
former auditor of the N ational Forest Centre Ľubica Lapinová was awarded. She revealed serious
violations of the public procurement law. A pediatrician Zuz ana Pechočiaková received the award
for pointing out that medical records of a new born baby have been whited out in the hospit al. In the
past 3 years we have also p resented the White Crow Award for a long-term contribution. Awarded
was Marcel Strý ko (in memoriam), an underground artist and dissident, Katarína Šimončičová, an
environmental activist and s amizdat publisher Oleg Pastier. For more see: Biela Vrana. T he
document is available online at: <ht tp://www.bielavrana.sk/index.php>

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