A whistleblower is an employee who makes an oral or written communication of information on an improper practice. The Protection of the Whistleblower Act (Chapter 527 of the laws of Malta) sets out a list of improper practices, which include an action or a series of actions whereby:
Apart from an existing or former employee who has or had an employment contract with an employer, a whistleblower may also include inter alia:
Not all employers fall within the scope of the Protection of the Whistleblower Act, which limits its applicability to:
A disclosure is a protected disclosure if the whistleblower:
Generally, anonymously made disclosures are not protected disclosures in terms of the Protection of the Whistleblower Act. When, following a public disclosure with information on breaches that is made anonymously, the whistleblower is subsequently identified and suffers retaliation, that disclosure will still be a protected disclosure provided that the disclosure satisfies the conditions established for a disclosure to qualify as a protected disclosure.
Subject to certain exceptions stated in the Protection of the Whistleblower Act, despite any prohibition of or restriction on the disclosure of information under any enactment, rule of law, contract, oath or practice, a whistleblower may not be subjected to detrimental action on account of having made a protected disclosure.
Detrimental action includes:
Notwithstanding the provisions of the Criminal Code or of any other law, a whistleblower who makes a protected disclosure is not liable to any civil or criminal proceedings or to a disciplinary proceeding for having made such a disclosure.
Information that identifies or may lead to the identification of the whistleblower may not be disclosed and must remain confidential, unless the whistleblower expressly consents in writing to the disclosure of that information.
Any person who may have suffered detrimental action as a result of making a protected disclosure shall, without prejudice to any other right under any other law, have a right to compensation for any damage caused.
An employer falling within the scope of the Protection of the Whistleblower Act must have in operation internal procedures for receiving and dealing with internal disclosures of information about improper practices committed within or by that organisation.
Such procedures should include inter alia channels for receiving the reports in writing or orally (or both), the designation of a whistleblowing reporting officer competent for following-up on the reports, and diligent follow-up mechanisms.
Internal reporting channels must be designed, established and operated in a secure manner that ensures that the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower and any third party mentioned in the disclosure is protected, and prevents access thereto by unauthorised staff members.
Clear and easily accessible information about the existence of the internal procedures, and adequate information on how to use such procedures, must be published widely within the organisation and must be republished at regular intervals. Every employer shall also provide clear and easily accessible information regarding the procedures for reporting externally to competent authorities and, where relevant, to institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the European Union.
The Protection of the Whistleblower Act prescribes other obligations that are incumbent upon an employer, including inter alia in relation to the protection of whistleblowers, the preservation of the confidentiality of disclosures, as well as the retention of records in this respect.
At Empleo, we provide legal advice to employers on all matters outlined above, including advice on the scope and extent of applicability of the Protection of the Whistleblower Act, as well as assistance in the preparation of internal policies and procedures for implementation by employers in furtherance of their obligations.
Some of our services in this area include the following:
You may get in touch with us here to request an initial free legal consultation in relation to any of the matters outlined above.
Mariella graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in law in 2005. She completed a master’s degree in ‘European Private Law’ from the La Sapienza, University of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in Malta in 2006.
Mariella is a people person – and it is this attribute which has really characterised and shaped her career.
Over the years, she headed the legal departments of several corporate services firms. Due to her skillset, she was also entrusted with managing and overseeing operations and human resources, where she gained technical and practical experience in various corporate, commercial and employment matters.
Her practical hands-on experience and insight perfectly complement Mariella’s technical knowledge of employment law, thus placing her in an ideal position to understand and advise employers and employees alike on various matters that may arise at the workplace.
Mariella is passionate about employment law matters and provides her clients with the highest-quality legal service to achieve the best possible outcome and resolve any employment law related issues and concerns.
Bradley graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006. He advises clients on various corporate, commercial, employment and regulatory matters, with particular focus on company and financial services law.
He has assisted clients in various corporate and commercial matters by providing company law advice and assisting in the implementation of corporate finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and similar transactions.
Bradley has also advised and assisted investment funds, fund managers and other investment services providers, banks and financial institutions, on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the setting up, authorisation and ongoing conduct of their activities in Malta.
His practice also covers general employment law matters. Bradley’s experience in company and financial services law enables him to focus on various corporate and regulatory aspects of employment relationships. In particular, he advises organisations on the implementation of employee share option and participation schemes, the implications of business transfers on employment relationships, as well as relations with senior employees.
Karl graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006.
Karl has gained considerable expertise in technology law and regularly assists clients in relation to intellectual property issues, commercial contracts and ways to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy laws. Whilst such matters used to be only given incidental importance when dealing with employment matters, they are now widely acknowledged to be vital in all employment relationships.
He is also regularly engaged by C-level executives to assist in negotiating employment contracts and settlement agreements.
Karl advises across a multitude of industries including technology; marketing; adtech; financial services; gaming; esports; consumer products; and media and telecommunications.