On 4 February 2022, a new Alert Raising Law, adopted in line with the EU Whistleblowing Directive, came into force.
As a result, the old version of the Alert Raising Law, which was in force as of 1 May 2019, is replaced by a new law. The need for the new law is linked to Latvia’s obligation to transpose the EU Whistleblowing Directive, which required extensive amendments to be made.
In the private sector, the law extends the obligation to set up an internal alert system and provides that companies subject to EU regulation, regardless of the number of employees, must set up an internal alert system. At the same time, in the private sector, the internal alert system can be outsourced to third parties. As such, entities subject to law may merge and establish a common internal alert system. In addition, from now on, a company must identify responsible persons (employees) who will be reviewing alert reports.
As regards reporting, the law extends areas and violations of particular concern and in relation to which an alert report can be brought. The list has been supplemented, for example, by breaches of transport safety, animal welfare, protection of privacy and personal data, and actions affecting climate change. At the same time, the law clarifies that this list is not exhaustive – a whistleblower is entitled to report an infringement that harms the public interest in any area.
Actions that are not considered to be alarm-raising have also been clarified. The new law adds to that list, for example, breaches of confidentiality of communications between a sworn advocate and a client, a doctor and a patient, disclosure of information on consultation with employee representatives or trade unions, and information between parties to a collective agreement, insofar as information necessary for conclusion or amendment of the collective agreement is concerned.
The law extends the range of persons provided with guarantees of protection. In addition to
the whistleblower himself and his relatives, related parties linked to the whistleblower are also protected if they may suffer adverse consequences. The list of actions considered as causing adverse consequences has also been extended.
Finally, the new law provides administrative liability for disturbing an alarm by imposing a fine on a natural person from 15 to 350 euros, and on a legal person – between EUR 35 and EUR 7 000.