Jurisdictional Updates 6-21-2022

Jurisdictional Updates 6-21-2022

Portugal – Internal Whistleblowing Channel Requirement

Companies with over 50 employees are required to have an Internal Whistleblowing Channel established and active by 18 June 2022. This information does not need to be sent to the Ministry of Justice, but reports must be sent to the competent authority to investigate the infraction (depending on the subject of the complaint: Public Prosecutor, police authorities, Tax Authority, ANACOM, ASAE,…), only if there is a denunciation.

The company should create internal channels that:

  • Guarantee the secure submission and follow-up of complaints, in order to ensure the confidentiality of the identity or anonymity of whistle-blowers and the confidentiality of the identity of third parties mentioned in the complaint
  • Prevent unauthorized persons from accessing the information
  • Are operated internally for the purpose of receiving and pursuing complaints by designated persons or services

Consequences of non-compliance:

  • Depending on the gravity and on the defaulter (natural or legal person), fines may range from Euros 500.00 to Euros 250,000.00.
  • The confidentiality of the complaint, including protection of the identity of the whistle-blower and reported, are essential elements for compliance with the rules of the ethics channels, and failure to comply with them may lead cumulatively to the application of fines as provided in the EU regulation on GDPR, i.e., with a maximum fine of up to EUR 20,000,000.00 or 4% of the group’s annual turnover.
  • If the same fact constitutes both a crime and a misdemeanour, the agent will always be punished as a crime.