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Germany

1.1 Basic rules of economic policy

Protection within states’ own territory – challenges within Germany [page 15-16]

The current situation

“The protection of whistleblowers is a highly valuable accompanying measure in the detection of exploitative employment. General provisions in the field of labour law (sections 612a and 626 of the German Civil Code and section 1 of the Protection against Unfair Dismissal Act) and in constitutional law (Articles 2(1), 5 and 20(3) of the Basic Law) provide the legal basis for such protection.

There are also numerous provisions of special legislation which supplement the protection of whistleblowers guaranteed by the aforementioned provisions in particular areas of activity, examples being section 13 of the Money Laundering Act and section 17(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.”

Measures

  • “As part of the transposition of European Directive 2016/943/EU on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets), the protection of whistleblowers in German law is being further developed. The purpose of this legislation is to make it clear that the disclosure of trade secrets is lawful if its purpose is to expose professional or other misconduct or illegal activity in order to protect the general public interest.”

Development policy [page 20]

Measures

“The Federal Government will also take specific action to step up its wide-ranging commitment to the protection of human rights defenders when applying the UN Guiding Principles. In the field of business and human rights, as elsewhere, development policy is about standing up for the rights of vulnerable groups, such as indigenous peoples or children and youth or persons with disabilities.”

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