Introduction of the Whistleblower Protection Act in Germany


The HinSchG (Hinweisgeberschutzgesetz) came into force in Germany on 2 July 2023. It has transposed the so-called EU Whistleblower Directive into German law.

The purpose of the HinSchG is to protect whistleblowers and promote transparent disclosure of any misconduct in companies. Those companies, which fall under HinSchG’s based on the number of employees, are obliged to establish the reporting offices required under the provisions of this law and to install a system which ensures that the reports received are processed and any violations identified are punished accordingly.

As a rule, companies that currently have at least 250 employees must implement the provisions under the HinSchG. This regulation will not become mandatory for companies with between 50 and 249 employees until 17 December 2023.

Violations of the requirements and provisions of the HinSchG may result in significant fines being imposed on the company itself as well as on those responsible for the company, such as the managing directors.

The group of persons protected under the HinSchG is broad and includes all natural persons who have obtained information about violations in connection with their professional activities.

Not every report of a violation of legal provisions is covered by the HinSchG. However, the protection afforded by the law is broadly defined. Whistleblowers enjoy the protection of the HinSchG when they report violations, especially of criminal laws.

The HinSchG thus imposes strict requirements on companies and their managers. Violations of these requirements can result in significant fines. It is therefore crucial to carefully follow the requirements of the HinSchG and to take appropriate measures to comply with these regulations.

By Dr. Lars Hamm
Attorney, Specialist Lawyer for tax law, Specialist Lawyer for criminal law
from Auren Germany