The Act on the Protection of Persons Reporting Misconduct (2021:890) has been in place since 17 December 2021. This Act provides special protection against retaliation for anyone who, in a work-related context, has received or obtained information about misconduct and reports it. Public employers with at least 50 employees are required by law to have an internal whistleblowing function.
While public employers with fewer than 50 employees can set up a whistleblowing function voluntarily, the protection to which a reporting person is entitled under the Whistleblowing Act does not apply to an operator who freely chooses to set up a whistleblowing function without being obliged to do so by law. For example, we would not be able to apply the confidentiality provisions intended to protect the reporting person’s identity. As we are subject to the principle of public access to official records, we would not be able to guarantee the protection of the reporting person’s identity. Furthermore, establishing a whistleblowing function would mean that personal data will be processed, which means raising issues relating to the GDPR. For the reasons outlined above, we have chosen not to establish a whistleblowing function.
At INAB, we are keen to detect possible misconduct and irregularities in our operations as early as possible. We therefore encourage our employees always to contact their immediate supervisor if they suspect misconduct or irregularities.
There is also a possibility to raise the alarm with the competent state authorities. The competent authorities must receive, follow up and provide feedback on reports of misconduct in certain specific areas through external reporting channels. Competent authorities include the Swedish Work Environment Authority, the Swedish Competition Authority, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, the County Administrative Board and the Swedish Tax Agency. A complete list of competent authorities and their responsibilities can be found in the Ordinance on the Protection of Persons Reporting Misconduct (SFS 2021:949).
As part of the regulation that aims to realise the principle of public access to official records, there is the so-called freedom of information. The constitutionally protected freedom of information means that it is possible, to a certain extent, to provide otherwise confidential information for publication in the mass media without the risk of sanctions. However, the freedom to communicate does not apply without exception, so there are cases where the person who submitted a communication for publication may be criminally liable for it. This is the case, for example, if the communicator, by submitting the message, is guilty of serious offences against national security or if the communicator discloses a public document in breach of confidentiality provisions. Another example where the informant may be criminally liable is if the informant violates any confidentiality obligations restricting the freedom to inform.
Employees and contractors in municipal companies are covered by enhanced protection for informants, which means that the municipal company may not investigate or intervene against an employee or contractor who has utilised their freedom to inform. However, the enhanced protection of informants does not apply to the CEO, deputy CEO, board members and deputy board members.