In France, the law of 9 December 2016 on transparency, defeating corruption and modernizing economic life (the so-called “Sapin II” law) established a juridical framework designed to protect whistleblowers and lay down rules for reporting the facts they reveal. This represents a real advance in the way employees’ relations to their firm’s hierarchy are governed, enabling the general interest to be taken into account. Yet the decision to “blow the whistle” is still not an easy one, even in this new juridical context.
After reviewing the history of the emergence of whistleblowers and outlining the framework recently established in France, Patrice Cailleba stresses the legal obligations of companies in this regard. He shows how whistleblowers face being torn between faithfulness to their own values, loyalty to their employer and a sense of the general interest. However, he also demonstrates how much it is in organizations’ own interests to encourage whistleblowing – particularly at the managerial level. By facilitating such a work of “ethical vigilance” within their organizations, companies, government departments and the like may be said to be contributing to increasing trust in the capitalist system (a trust currently eroded, if not indeed lost).