Bribery in international business

Whistleblower Protection


The importance of whistleblower protection

Encouraging employees to report wrongdoing ("or blow the whistle"), and protecting them when they do, is an important part of corruption prevention in both the public and private sectors. Employees are usually the first to recognise wrongdoing in the workplace, so empowering them to speak up without fear of reprisal can help authorities both detect and deter violations.


In the public sector, protecting whistleblowers can make it easier to detect passive bribery, the misuse of public funds, waste, fraud and other forms of corruption. In the private sector, it helps authorities identify cases of active bribery and other corrupt acts committed by companies, and also helps businesses prevent and detect bribery in commercial transactions. Whistleblower protection is thus essential to safeguarding the public interest and to promoting a culture of public accountability and integrity.




Leah Ambler, OECD Anti-Corruption Division l

Frederic St Martin, OECD Public Sector Integrity Division |



This report, originally published in the OECD study on The Detection of Foreign Bribery, looks at the key role that whistleblowers and whistleblower protection can play in the detection of foreign bribery when legal frameworks and appropriate channels are in place to report alleged instances to law enforcement authorities. 



16 March 2016 - This event featured a session on empowering whistleblowers and facilitating voluntary disclosure.



This report analyses whistleblower protection frameworks in OECD countries, identifies areas for reform and proposes next steps to strengthen effective and comprehensive whistleblower protection laws in both the public and private sectors. 

Highlights of the report (PDF)


OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and 2009 Recommendation

OECD Recommendation on Improving Ethical Conduct in the Public Service

United Nations Convention against Corruption

Council of Europe Civil and Criminal Law Conventions on Corruption

Inter-American Convention against Corruption

African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption



Guidelines on Whistleblower Protection for Companies in Greece l in Greek (OECD, 2018)

Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Protection of Reporting Persons (UNODC, 2015)

Update on public and private whistleblower protection, OECD at CoSP6 in St Petersburg, 3 November 2015

OECD Seminar on revisiting whistleblower protection: From commitments to effective protection, Paris, 17 June 2014

G20 Study On Whistleblower Protection Frameworks: Compendium of Best Practices and Guiding Principles for Legislation (OECD, 2011)

Identification and Quantification of the Proceeds of Bribery (OECD-StAR, 2012)

CleanGovBiz Toolkit on Whistleblower Protection (OECD, 2012)

Legal protection in selected countries

Australia: Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

Belgium: The Law of 15 September 2013 relating to the reporting of suspected harm to integrity within a federal administrative authority by a member of its staff

Canada: Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act of 2005

Hungary: 2009 Act CLXIII on the Protection of Fair Procedures (2009. évi CLXIII. törvény)

Japan: Whistleblower Protection Act of 2004

Korea: Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistleblowers (Act No. 10472, Mar. 29, 2011)

Netherlands: Decree Regulating the Reporting of Suspected Abuses in the Civil Service and the Police, Decree regulating the Reporting of Suspected Wrongdoing in the Defence, Control procedure and protection in the reporting of suspected wrongdoing (province)

New Zealand: Protected Disclosures Act 2000

United Kingdom: Public Interest Disclosure Act of 1998

United States: Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Military Whistleblower Protection Act, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Sarbanes-Oaxley Act of 2002


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