Whistleblowers in France

French privacy law limits the ability to use anonymous hotlines.

In France, the French Data Protection Authority (La Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL)), an administrative agency, oversees processes involving the collection or compilation of personal data. In 2005 they decided that two reporting procedures were in violation of French privacy law. McDonald’s Corp. and CEAC, a division of Exide Technologies, sought CNIL’s approval of their whistleblower hotline procedures. In June 2005, CNIL announced that these proposed reporting procedures would violate French law and it refused to authorize the use of such procedures. CNIL expressed concerned that anonymous reporting would lead to malicious false reports of misconduct. They determined that the risk of malicious reporting was disproportionate to the benefit of the hotlines.

There is an obligation to file procedures with the CNIL before they are implemented if files or records will be maintained in France.

See Law Flash from Morgan Lewis: Whistleblower Procedures Inconsistent with French, German Law?

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