Austrian law permits all Austrian citizens to report frauds against the U.S. Government under the False Claims Act, or violations of the provisions of the Securities & Exchange Act, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, or Commodities Exchange Act.

Current Status of Austria’s Whistleblower Laws

What disclosures are currently protected?

Austria currently has some whistleblower laws in place including in its labor code, public services law, and in the private sector in the environmental information act. Importantly, according to Austrian labor law, it is illegal to fire a whistleblower whose actions were meant to prevent threats to life or health in the workplace. Nonetheless, general legislation for both the public and private sector remains absent from Austrian law. Additionally, there are no reward provisions for successful whistleblowers in Austrian law and law enforcement. Therefore, whistleblowers may be better off reporting to U.S. regulators, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.

Can Austrian whistleblowers receive rewards?

There is no law in Austria providing whistleblowers rewards, however, they may receive rewards through U.S. laws.

Recent updates and future legislative developments

Under the EU Whistleblower Directive Austria must have a national whistleblower law in place conforming to the Directive’s requirements, however, the government has yet to announce that it has begun the drafting process.

Can/should Austrian whistleblowers report to U.S. officials?

No law in Austria currently prohibits Austrian citizens from reporting frauds against the U.S. government under the False Claims Act, or violations of provisions of other statutes including the Securities & Exchange Act, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, or Commodities Exchange Act. Therefore, Austrian whistleblowers can and should report relevant violations to U.S. officials under these laws.

Introduction for Austrian Whistleblowers Using U.S. Laws

An overview of the whistleblower protections in the United States

The United States has over 50 separate whistleblower laws, and they each define a protected disclosure separately.

The most comprehensive and widely used U.S. laws offering whistleblowers significant protections are the False Claims Act, the Dodd Frank Act, the Commodities Exchange Act, and the Internal Revenue Code.
These laws all provide various degrees of anonymity, confidentiality, and rewards and cover a myriad of common legal violations.

Protection and anonymity under commonly used whistleblower laws

The False Claims Act permits a whistleblower to file his or her original complaint without revealing his/her identity to the public or a would-be defendant. However, after the government concludes its investigation as to the subject of the complaint, in most cases, the complaint is made public.

The SEC Whistleblower Program (created by the Dodd Frank Act), which includes fraud under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, and bribery under the