Effective July 1st 2016, the Netherlands will introduce a new law designed to support and encourage whistleblowers. While this may seem like a positive step for whistleblowers in the Netherlands, experts are highly critical of the law’s effectiveness due to its lack of confidentiality and protection for those blowing the whistle.
Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and a leading whistleblower-rights attorney, condemned the new Netherlands law and urged potential whistleblowers to search out more effective methods for blowing the whistle, specifically citing the U.S.’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Kohn made the following statement today regarding the law:
“The Netherlands’ whistleblower law is destined to fail. It puts an emphasis on employee’s reporting corruption to the very institutions and companies that may be profiting from the crimes. Requiring employees to report their concerns internally acts to strip employees of real confidentiality protections, and sends the wrong message. The law is weak and we expect it will be counterproductive. We strongly urge every employee in the Netherlands who may have a claim covered under a powerful U.S. laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to explore using the U.S. system. Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, employees can contact the government without tipping off their employers that they are a whistleblower. They can file anonymous claims and obtain large financial rewards. Between 2011-2015, over 1500 employees from 95 countries have filed confidential FCPA claims in the United States, and over $30 million in rewards have already been paid.”
Kohn is the author of The Whistleblower’s Handbook, which describes how employees can use the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to protect their rights.