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Romania has adopted a new Whistleblowing Law after a turbulent process 

Romania whistleblowing law.

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How to get compliant with the Whistleblowing Law

The journey to establish comprehensive whistleblower protection in Romania has been a turbulent one. After initial concerns, Romania passed a new whistleblower law, Law 361/2022, in June 2022. This made Romania the tenth country to transpose the EU Directive into national legislation.  

The law did, however, face criticism for its flaws and non-compliance with the Directive. In response, an enhanced version of the law was approved by Parliament on 13 December 2022. Despite further concerns about problematic terminology, the law is now in force after amendments were made in March 2023, aligning it with the Ministry of Justice’s initial proposal.  

Legislative process of the whistleblower law in Romania 

Similar to most Member States, Romania did not meet the initial deadline to transpose the EU Directive on Whistleblower Protection, however new legislation was introduced in June 2022. Despite the law’s successful passage through Parliament, anti-corruption experts immediately indicated significant flaws in the new law. These included non-compliance with the Directive’s minimum standards, a reduction in the existing protection network in Romania, and even constitutional violations.  

Following the Constitutional Court’s judgement that the law does not respect Constitutional standards, Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, returned the law to Parliament on July 28 for reassessment. An enhanced version of the law received approval on December 13, 2022.  

However, the revised legislation faced criticism from both civil society and the EU Commission for inconsistencies in comparison to the Whistleblowing Directive. The Commission explicitly demanded the removal of the criterion for anonymous whistleblower to include “substantial clues” to support their disclosure, potentially leading to the dismissal of anonymous claims. This request was tied to the withholding of funds under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, valued at 3.2 billion euros.  

In March 2023, a draft law to amend the recently enacted legislation was presented to Parliament. This resulted in Law No. 67/2023 which was adopted on 21 March 2023. The updated paragraph revised the obligation for anonymous whistleblowers, changing “substantial clues” to “information”.  

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the details and most important aspects of the Romanian law on whistleblower protection together with Maria Bobóc, Territory Manager at Whistlelink.  

For more information, please also read our article written by Whistlelink Partner Deloitte: Legislative process of the Romanian Whistleblowing law.  

The Romanian whistleblowing law: Scope of application 

Obliged entities must have an internal reporting channel in place, as well as reporting procedures and protection systems for preventing retaliation against whistleblowers. A person or department shall be designated as responsible for managing reports and carrying out subsequent actions with due diligence. Written or oral reporting must be made possible in the internal reporting system, and confidentiality must be observed.  

The obligations for the private sector include:  

  1. Legal entities with 50 or more employees with permanent or fixed-term employment contracts. 
  1. Certain legal persons in the financial sector or with obligations relating to the prevention of money laundering or terrorist financing, or transport and environmental security.  

The law allows companies in the private sector with between 50 to 249 employees to share internal reporting channels as well as resources for receiving and processing reports.  

For the public sector, the law has extended the obligation to have internal reporting channels to its full extent. All public entities must set up a secure reporting system regardless of the number of employees. The law also applies to municipalities with over 10,000 citizens.  

Deadlines

Romanian companies with more than 50 employees were required to implement internal whistleblowing channels by 17 December 2023.

Sanctions

Fines for failing to comply with the obligations of the whistleblower protection law range between 3,000 to 40,000 lei.  

  • A breach of the obligation to have an internal reporting with fines ranging between 4,000 to 30,000 lei for legal entities.   
  • Violation of the obligation to ensure confidentiality may result in a fine between 4,000 to 40,000 lei.  
  • Additional sanction in the form of an administrative fine of up to 40,000 lei, if the court finds that the same whistleblower has been subject to reprisal at least twice in connection with the same report.
      
     

Knowingly reporting false information is qualified as a criminal offence and will be punishable by fines ranging from 2,400 to 30,000 lei, unless the act is considered a criminal offence.  
 

Anonymous reporting

The Romanian Whistleblowing Law allows for anonymous reporting but it is not encouraged. Provided that the report contains the minimum level of information, organisations are obliged to analyze the report. This will only be the case if the anonymous report contains indications of the alleged breaches of the law, else the report can be dismissed after 15 days.

Anonymous whistleblowers will have the same legal protection as named whistleblowers.  

Other important information about the whistleblower law in Romania

The whistleblower has the right to be represented in disciplinary investigations following a report by a lawyer appointed free of charge by the Romanian Bar Association.  

It is also possible to submit a whistleblower report to external entities, designated to receive complaints about breaches of the law. These involve public authorities and institutions as well as the National Integrity Agency (‘ANI’).  

You can read more about the EU Whistleblowing Directive here, or visit our page about National whistleblower laws in the EU to learn more. 

Would you like to discuss a safe and secure whistleblowing solution for your organisation? Please  book a free demo

If you have any thoughts about this article or would like to know more about Whistlelink, we’d love to hear from you.

Are you looking for a safe and secure whistleblowing solution for your organisation?Please book a free demo of our system in the calendar below!

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Annelie Demred

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HAPPY TO MEET YOU!

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Our team is ready to answer your questions. Find the answer by visiting our support centre, or fill out the form below and we'll be in touch as soon as possible. Or simply give us a call!

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0046 (0)706 83 82 88