Art. 2 (2) - Extension of material scope beyond EU law
The material scope was extended, considering that provisions on whistleblowing were introduced in national law before implementation of the Directive 2019/1937. First Whistleblowing Act was adopted by the parliament on 11 October 2018, and came into effect on 1 May 2019 and was later replaced by the new Whistleblowing Act, implementing the Directive 2019/19367.
Currently, Whistleblowing Act allows to report any violations related to the public interest. In addition to the scope related to violations of the EU Law, the other areas indicated are: 1) inaction, negligence, abuse of office or other unlawful acts of public officials; 2) corruption, violations of the rules on financing political organizations (parties) and their associations and restrictions on pre-election campaigning; 3) embezzlement of public funds or property; 4) tax evasion; 5) threat to building / construction safety; 6) threat to occupational safety; 7) threat to public order; 8) violation of human rights.
This listing in non-exhaustive and individuals can report other cases related to public interest.
Art. 4 (1) - Extension of personal scope (protected person)
Pursuant to the Article 1(1)(7) of the Whistleblowing Act, the personal scope was extended to include persons who received reportable information during recruitment process (candidates) and are on traineeship.
Art. 6 (2) - Acceptance of anonymous reports
(a) private sector regarding internal reporting: No.
(b) public sector regarding internal reporting: No.
(c) competent authorities regarding external reporting: No.
Pursuant to the Whistleblowing Act legal entities in the private or public sector and competent authorities in Latvia are not obliged to accept and follow up on anonymous reports of breaches. Such reports fall outside of the legal framework for whistleblowing. At the same time, entities in private or public sector and competent authorities have the discretion to investigate the report at own initiative if the reported matter falls within their competence provided in other laws and regulations.
Art. 7 (2) - Encouraging internal reporting
The Whistleblowing Act requires that all persons must be informed of the internal reporting channels before or at the commencement of traineeship, employment, service or other professional relationship. All such persons must be provided with easily accessible information about the internal reporting channels in the place of work. Other discretionary internal incentives can be considered.
Art. 8 (7) - Obligation for legal entities in the private sector with less than 50 workers
No, there is no such obligation in the national law. Legal entities with fewer than 50 workers can establish internal whistleblowing channels at their own discretion.
Art. 8 (9) second subparagraph - Exemption for municipalities with fewer than 10.000 inhabitants / fewer than 50 workers / other entities with fewer than 50 workers
Municipalies with fewer than 10 000 inhabitants or with fewer than 50 employees are not exempt from obligation to have an internal reporting channel. Municipal authorities with fewer than 50 employees are allowed to establish a shared (joint) internal reporting channel with other municipal authorities.
Art. 8 (9) Third subparagraph - Shared internal reporting channels for municipalities
Municipal authorities with fewer than 50 employees are allowed to establish a shared (joint) internal reporting channel with other municipal authorities.
Art. 11 (1) - Authorities competent to receive external reports
There are more than 230 competent authorities in Latvia. Compentent authorities in Latvia are defined broadly, including state or municipal public authorities, which can receive, give feedback and follow up on reports within their competence laid down in laws and regulations. Full ist of institutions with their names in Latvian and information about websites is available: https://trauksmescelejs.lv/kur-celt-trauksm
Art. 11 (3) first sentence - Competence of authorities to decide on the minority of external reports
Art. 11 (4) first sentence - Competence of authorities to decide on closing procedures regarding repetitive external reports
Art. 11 (5) - Competence of authorities to handle particular external reports with priority
Art. 20 (2) - Financial assistance and support measures for reporting persons
There is no financial assistrance provided. Pprovided is here a state ensured legal assistance to the whistleblower, as well as a whistleblower, his or her relative and related person,are released from the State fee in administrative proceedings in a court, if the application is related to the prevention of adverse effects caused due to whistleblowing.
Art. 21 (1) first sentence - Protection measures against retaliation
Article 13(1) of the Whistleblowing Act provides that it is prohibited to cause adverse consequences to the whistleblower, his relatives and related persons, and: 1) apply disciplinary or other punishments; 2) dismiss from position, including not extending fixed-term employment contract, if there were grounds for believing that this would be done; 3) transfer to another job or position; 4) deny promotion, vocational or further training; 5) change the duties, working hours, place of work or remuneration of the job or position; 6) give a negative performance evaluation; 7) violate the honour, dignity and reputation; 8) revoke licences and permits; 9) unilaterally withdraw from or terminate a contract for the supply, purchase or provision of goods or services; 10) request a medical opinion; 11) otherwise directly or indirectly cause adverse effects, including by violating the principle of equal rights.
Art. 23 (1) - Penalties
(a) hinder or attempt to hinder reporting: Adiminstrative fine for natural persons are between EUR 15 – EUR 350; for government officials between EUR 20 – EUR 350; for legal entities between EUR 35 – EUR 7000.
(b) retaliate against reporting person: Adiminstrative fine for natural persons are between EUR 30 – EUR 700; for government officials between EUR 40 – EUR 700; for legal entities between EUR 70 – EUR 14 000.
(c) persons bringing vexatious proceedings against reporting person: Procedural fine in the amount up to EUR 1200 or in case of initiation of criminal proceedings – criminal liability (short term imprisonment, community service or fine)
(d) breach the duty of maintaining the confidentiality of reporting persons: Criminal liability up to imprisonment for 1 year, community service or fine.
Art. 23 (2) first sentence - Penalties for false reporting
Administrative fine between EUR 30 – EUR 700. Compensation for damages may be awarded in accordance with the Civil Procedure Act.
Art. 25 (1) - Further national rights of reporting persons
There were no further rights of reporting persons introduced that are beyond the standards of the directive.
As provided, provisions of whistleblowing apply to any reports related to public interest. Also, follow-up on the report must be given in 2 months’ time, while directive provides no later than 3 months.