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Comparative Perspectives on Whistleblower Protection

Compared to the United States, Germany is a wasteland for whistleblowers. Granted, there have been some attempts to promote whistleblowing in German legislation. But they failed to address the most urgent needs of whistleblowers. Of course, whistleblowing has become more and more relevant in the past few years and its controversy has also reached Germany. The whistleblower does face risks like termination, suspension, discrimination, exclusion, blacklisting and threats or maybe even criminal liability. Whistleblowing is an act “on the border between illegality and legality”.The exposure of unwanted conduct is, however, generally in the public interest and whistleblowing is, therefore, desirable behavior. That is why it is necessary to protect the whistleblower so that he or she is not already put off by the legal situation. In addition, incentives can be provided to encourage whistleblowing. However, organizations have an opposing interest in keeping confidential information confidential. Hence the law must strike a sensible balance between the protection of whistleblowers, the public interest, and confidentiality.


In cooperation with Prof. Jacqueline Ross and Prof. Verity Windship from the University of Illinois College of Law, we compare the dealing with Whistleblowers in criminal prosecutions within the German and US jurisdictions and the impact on adversarial and inquisitorial systems. Interviews with law enforcement officials, whistleblower attorneys, compliance officers and not at least former whistleblowers are being conducted.

Selected publications