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Employment Brief: Clarification of guidelines on Whistleblowing Officers in Slovakia

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The requirements for the Whistleblowing Officer’s (WO) role are covered by various guidelines that have been published by the Slovak Office for Protection of Whistleblowers over the past several months. The multitude of information sources now requires clarification, as the role of the WO leading internal investigations of reports is becoming increasingly prominent. 

Below we summarise the key points for convenience:

A WO should:

  • be an individual of high morale, good reputation and ethical standing, who is able to garner the trust of the employer’s management as well as of the employees;
  • have a suitable background, ideally in the field of law or economics;
  • have practical experience in conducting investigations, audits, controls or similar analytical work is welcome;
  • have methodological and analytical skills to be able to identify potential breaches.
  • The WO is strictly bound by instructions from the employer’s statutory body or the statutory body of the parent company.

From their part, employers must:

  • facilitate the independent execution of duties by the WO;
  • ensure no conflicts of interest arise;
  • maintain the WO’s qualifications up-to-date on an ongoing basis.

We recommend that employers review their whistleblowing policies and relevant internal documents, as well as the qualifications of their current WOs, and bring them in line with issued guidelines in order to avoid potential scrutiny from the authorities.

Furthermore, international companies should consider appointing a WO fluent in Slovak, given that the local language is preferred for filing notifications, and that they will likely be required to communicate with local authorities where the local language is a must.

By Katarina Matulnikova, Partner, and Zuzana Hodonova, Counsel, Wolf Theiss

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