Since 2008, a partial revision of the SCO (protection in case of reporting irregularities at the workplace) has been discussed in parliament. The Federal Council wanted to create clear legal rules on when whistle-blowing is lawful. In March 2020, the Federal Council’s bill on the protection of reports of irregularities in the workplace was definitively rejected for the second time since 2015. Therefore, there will be no legal reform of whistle-blowing in Switzerland in the near future.
In Switzerland, unlike in the EU, there are no mandatory whistle-blowing hotlines, the use of whistle-blowing hotlines is not specifically regulated by the FDPA or the CO. However, from a FDPA and CO perspective, whistle-blowing hotlines can be used if certain minimum requirements are met, such as:
- the transparent informing (especially of employees and contractors) of the existence of the whistle-blowing hotline;
- the informing of relevant employees, contractors, etc, of allegations about them contained in a specific whistle-blowing report, unless there is an overriding interest not to do so in order to protect the ensuing investigations or the reporting person;
- adequate safeguards to protect the data subjects from false or slanderous accusations; and
- strong state-of-the-art security measures.
This being said, it is important to verify compliance on an individual basis before implementing a whistle-blowing hotline.