Supporting People who Speak Out

Denmark – Whistleblower Protection

Denmark – Whistleblower Protection

Denmark has no current or proposed whistleblower legislation, and no statutory provisions to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. Section 77 of the Constitution grants freedom of speech to all people. However, many laws limit this freedom in the workplace.
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Denmark has no designated law to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and provide them with disclosure channels to report crime and corruption. A major principle of employment relationships is the employee’s duty of loyalty, which is embedded in many laws that effectively limit an employee’s freedom of speech. Given the lack of specific whistleblower legislation, cases must be evaluated in the courts, where judges weigh the competing rights of employers and employees. Given the ambiguous position of whistleblowers under Danish law, people who face retaliation for reporting misconduct must go through lengthy procedures in order to exert their rights. […]
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Specific legislation aimed at protecting whistleblowers is non-existent in Denmark. The concept of whistleblowing is said to be a “very unfamiliar method of revealing fraud”1. The degree of protections granted to a whistleblower in Denmark is close to nothing, mainly due to two factors: first, the duty of loyalty considered a major principle governing employment relationships in Denmark; and second, the limited rights employees posess when dismissed without cause, which consist in small amount of damges and scarce chance of reinstament.

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Legislation particularly aimed at protecting whistleblowers is non-existent in Denmark. Therefore, one must seek guidance in various statutory provisions.

In Denmark, the concept of whistleblowing is said to be “a very unfamiliar method of revealing fraud”.1 This presumption reveals itself to be quite accurate, given the degree of protection whistleblowers are granted (close to nothing). This is mainly due to two factors: first, the duty of loyalty; and second, the limited rights employees possess when dismissed without cause (small amount of damages, scarce chance of reinstatement).

In order to create an accessible overview, the following report is divided into six main sections; the duty of loyalty, the protection for whistleblowers in various statutory provisions (divided into different sectors for public and private employees), journalistic context, case law, the Data Protection Agency, and a concluding identification of the gaps in Danish legislation regarding whistleblowers’ protection.

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Danmark har ingen konkret lov, der beskytter whistleblowere mod retsforfølgelse og heller ej ingen myndighed, man kan kontakte, hvis man ligger inde med en viden om kriminalitet eller korruption. Et gennemgående princip i medarbejderens ansættelsesforhold handler om pligten til at være loyal. Dette er indlejret i mange love, som også effektivt er med til at begrænse medarbejderens ytringsfrihed. Da der mangler love omkring whitleblowing, så bliver sagerne behandlet i retten på den måde, hvor arbejdsgiverens rettigheder bliver sat over for medarbejderens. Da de danske love omkring whistleblowing er tvetydige, må de, der sigtes for at rapportere informationer, ofte gennemgå længerevarende procedurer, for at opnå deres rettigheder. […]
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