Art. 2 (2) - Extension of material scope beyond EU law
The material scope of the Directive 2019/1937 was extended in the national law. Pursuant to Art. 3(1) of the Law on Whistleblower Protection of the Republic of Lithuania (LWP), information on violations is provided in order to protect the public interest. Art. 3(2)(11) of the LWP establishes that “According to this law, information about violations is provided for: other violations”. Therefore, a list of possible violations is not stricly defined, and material scope was extended by encompassing not only EU law violations, but national law violations as well. The main condition for the violation to be notified is the infringement of public interest (violations infringing personal interests cannot be reported or, accordingly, will not be assessed).
Art. 4 (1) - Extension of personal scope (protected person)
The personal scope was slightly extended by also including persons who acquired information during recruitment process or other pre-contractual relations (Art. 2(2) of the LWP).
Art. 6 (2) - Acceptance of anonymous reports
There is an obligation for the private sector and the public sector regarding internal reporting and for competent authoritiesregarding external reporting.
Art. 7 (2) - Encouraging internal reporting
We cannot exclude any specific incentives in relation to encouraging internal reporting. The main requirement is that the internal reporting channels were created and accessible (Art. 16 of the LWP).
Art. 8 (7) - Obligation for legal entities in the private sector with less than 50 workers
There is no obligation for private sector legal entities with fewer than 50 employees to establish internal reporting channels and establish reporting procedures. However, legal entities with fewer than 50 employees may establish such reporting channels on their own will. The reporting persons, working in entities with fewer than 50 employees, are not prevented from submitting a report to the competent authority, if the legal entity does not have its own internal reporting channel.
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
The discretion is not implemented – there is an obligation that internal channels for reporting were created in all state or municipal institutions (Point 3 of the Description of the Procedure for the Creation of Internal Channels for Providing Information about Violations and Ensuring their Functioning, adopted by Government Resolution No. 1133 (Description)).
Art. 8 (9) Third subparagraph - Shared internal reporting channels for municipalities
Shared internal reporting channels are allowed under the described conditions. Pursuant to Point 4 of the Description, the internal channels may not be created in state or municipal institutions belonging to the management area of another institution, if the institution to which they belong has created internal channels that can also be used by the employees of this institution.
Art. 11 (1) - Authorities competent to receive external reports
The competent authority is the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania (lt. Lietuvos Respublikos prokuratūra).
Link to the website: https://www.prokuraturos.lt/lt
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
Yes. Pursuant to Art. 6(7) of the LWP, the competent authority does not examine the report and notifies the person who submitted the information about the violation, if: 1) the report is based on information that clearly does not correspond to reality; 2) the person who submitted the information about the violation applies to the competent authority repeatedly for the same circumstances, when the previously submitted report was examined in accordance with the procedure established by this law and a decision was made on it. The competent authority shall notify the person who submitted the information about the violation about the decision not to examine the report and its reasons no later than within 2 working days from the date of adoption of the decision.
Art. 11 (5) - Competence of authorities to handle particular external reports with priority
Art. 20 (2) - Financial assistance and support measures for reporting persons
Art. 21 (1) first sentence - Protection measures against retaliation
Art. 10 of the LWP provides a non-exhaustive list of measures that are prohibited to take, threaten to take, or attempt to take: temporarily remove a person from his duties; dismiss from work or service; stop transfer to higher positions; transfer to a lower position or another workplace; intimidate; harass; discriminate; etc. The prohibition to take retaliation measures applies to the employer and other employees of the institution. It is also forbidden to take such measures against the reporting person’s family members, relatives, colleagues (Art. 10(3) of the LWP). If the person who provided information and the aforementioned persons were adversely affected, in the event of a dispute with the employer or another party to the contractual relationship, the employer or other party to the contractual relationship shall prove that these persons suffered negative consequences not due to their provided information (Art. 10(4) of the LWP). The Labour Code specifies that, inter alia, providing information in accordance with the LWP cannot be considered as actions that violate the employer’s pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests (Art. 31(3) of the Labour Code). Additionally, it is forbidden to terminate the employment contract, inter alia, on the basis due to the provision of information about the violation in accordance with the LWP (Art. 59(2) of the Labour Code).
Art. 23 (1) - Penalties
Please provide how high are respective penalties:
(a) hinder or attempt to hinder reporting: EUR 140-300. Penalty for repeated infringement – EUR 300-500.
(b) retaliate against reporting person: EUR 140-300. Penalty for repeated infringement – EUR 300-500.
(c) persons bringing vexatious proceedings against reporting person: EUR 140-300. Penalty for repeated infringement – EUR 300-500.
(d) breach the duty of maintaining the confidentiality of reporting persons: EUR 1.000-2.000. Penalty for repeated infringement – EUR 2.000-4.000.
Art. 23 (2) first sentence - Penalties for false reporting
This would be considered as a criminal offence. Pursuant to the Criminal Code, the person may be punished by obligation to do public service or to pay a fine (EUR 2.500-100.000), or restriction of liberty, or arrest, or deprivation of liberty for up to 2 years. Pursuant to Art. 3(5) and (7) of the LWP, the person providing information about the violation shall be liable for the damage caused only if it is proven that the person could not reasonably believe that the information about the violation he provides is correct. Submission of known false information does not provide the person who submitted such information guarantees under the LWP.
Art. 25 (1) - Further national rights of reporting persons
There are no provisions guaranteeing more favorable rights were introduced.
The scope of violations that can be notified are wider than required by the Directive 2019/1937. It is enough that the violation was related to the infringement of public interest. This is also related to the fact that whistleblower protection has been regulated in Lithuania since 2017, i.e. earlier than required by the Directive 2019/1937. Under the LWP the violation is described as follows: in the institution planned, being committed or committed criminal act, administrative offense, official misconduct or violation of work duties, as well as gross violation of mandatory norms of professional ethics, attempt to conceal said violation or other violation of law that threatens or violates the public interest may be planned, committed or committed in the institution (Art. 2(7) of the LWP).