TECHNOLOGY

”Companies affected by ’the whistleblower law’ must speed up their implementation”

The time for action is now, security expert and podcaster Pia Thevselius states.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
February 21, 2022

A few weeks ago, a new Swedish whistleblower legislation went into effect, demanding all employers of companies and agencies having 50 or more employees, to implement a system for handling whistle-blowing reports.

— The law protects an employee, or an extra staff hired, from retaliation when red-flagging serious wrongdoings at a workplace, Thevselius tells. To qualify for protection under the law the whistleblower must have substantial suspicion about a crime that carries a jail sentence in the penalty scale in addition to the case being within the common interest of society to prosecute. Minor misdemeanours or common dissatisfaction are not included in the law. Furthermore, the law puts up far-reaching demands on a safe, secure, and easily accessible reporting system and there cannot exist any conflict of interest by the responsible person or persons receiving the whistleblower report. The whistle-blower cases must be investigated by a neutral partner or investigation group with high confidentiality. In addition, there must be a clear chain of custody for the evidence as well as a structured storage of the information. The law requires that the employer — the dedicated investigator within the company or agency for whistleblowing investigations — reports back to the whistle-blower within certain timeframes.

According to Thevselius, the very most important thing with having a whistleblowing law at all is that whistleblowing is about upholding a democratic system in a society.

— I have a strong moral compass, and I think it’s vitally important that there is a safe and secure way for people to be able to report, for instance, fraud, money laundering, or other types of criminal activity at their workplace or within the company, they have a cooperation of some kind with. Otherwise, it undermines the free market as well. If I was the executive of a company or an agency, I would welcome this new legislation as it’s protecting him or her and the employees as well as the customers if they reveal a crime or a misdemeanour within the company. Any serious organisation would win in respect, showing that they do not want any illegalities within their business, it strengthens their brand and their credibility.

A former police officer for more than 25 years, Thevselius has also worked as a bodyguard and with high-level studies about terrorism and radicalisation in the UK. Now a security advisor at the security company SRS Security, she states the importance for all companies affected by the law to speed up their implementation of an internal solution, to meet up on the demands.

— Time flies and by July 17 this year, all public employers with 50-249 employees and all employers — both private and public — with at least 250 employees will be required to have a whistleblowing function in place. Private employers with 50-249 employees have their deadline by the end of 2023. The process itself doesn’t have to be so complicated though. We and our industry colleagues can hand out a link to a dedicated whistle-blowing platform to the company or agency where the whistle-blower can do the reporting, then inform the employees about it and what it includes.

To spread the knowledge and answer the unanswered questions about whistleblowing and whistle-blowers, she’s teamed up with journalist and the creator of vissla.nu, Mikaela Åkerman, on a podcast in Swedish, Visselpodden (The whistle pod).

— My background in law enforcement and investigations and Mikaela’s as a journalist turned out to be a good combo as we both had a common interest in and experience of interviewing people. We meet whistle-blowers, lawyers, journalists, police officers, and politicians — all experts within the subject but from different angles. We give concrete advice to future whistle-blowers and discuss with our guests in what way they think the new whistle-blowing law will affect society, Thevselius concludes.


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