The Whistleblower Protection Act, which implements the European Union's Whistleblower Directive at national level in Germany, has been in force in Germany since 2 June 2023. Individuals who report information about misconduct that they have received in a work context within the organisation concerned or an external authority, or who disclose it to the public, are protected by this law.

Employers with at least 50 employees are subject to certain obligations under the Whistleblower Protection Act. The Act applies to private and public employers such as the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT).

Under the Act, companies are obliged, among other things, to set up and operate an internal reporting centre to which employees can turn.

The ZMT's reporting centre can be found at the following link:

Obligations for employers under the Whistleblower Protection Act

  • Companies and organisations with a workforce of more than 50 employees are obliged to install and operate secure internal whistleblowing systems. From 18 December 2023, this requirement will also apply to smaller companies with between 50 and 249 employees.
  • It must be possible to submit reports verbally, in writing or, if desired, in person.
  • As soon as a report is submitted, the internal reporting centre must send a confirmation to the whistleblower within seven days.
  • Within three months of receiving the report, the reporting office is obliged to inform the whistleblower of the measures taken.
  • As an alternative option for submitting reports, there is an external reporting centre at the Federal Office of Justice. The federal states also have the option of setting up their own reporting centres.
  • Whistleblowers are free to decide whether they wish to submit a report to their company's internal reporting centre or the external reporting centre.
  • Anonymous reports should also be investigated.
  • If whistleblowers are "disadvantaged" in connection with their professional activities, it is assumed that this disadvantage is a so-called reprisal. Whistleblowers can assert claims for damages due to reprisals.