Croatian law permits 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 Croatia’s Whistleblower Laws

What disclosures are currently protected?

Croatia currently has a patchwork of whistleblower protections available through its laws but still lacks a sufficient comprehensive whistleblower protection schema.

Under its newly enacted “Whistleblower Protection Act” whistleblowers may report through internal channels (which employers with more than 50 people must have in place) unless the whistleblower faces an imminent threat to their life, health and safety; there is the potential for large-scale damage or destruction of evidence; there is no possibility of internal reporting; the reporting person no longer performs work with the employer in question; or irregularities and concerns exist regarding the internal reporting process. In such circumstances whistleblowers may report externally to an ombudsman or “authorities authorised to act on the content of the report under a separate law”, a definition which remains unclear. Additionally, whistleblowers may also make a public disclosure of their allegations without first reporting internally or externally “if there is an imminent threat to life, health, safety or large-scale damage or destruction of evidence.” However, it is also unclear how these circumstances must be different to those required for a report to an external authority.

Under this law whistleblowers also have the right to confidentiality and the right to seek protection and damages in court. And an employer in violation of this law may be subject to a fine.

Although the law is a step in the right direction for Croatia, the law has received criticism for, amongst other things, some of its vague provisions and for the fact that the fines for whistleblowers and employers who violate the act are the same, meaning that the fines for employers, in the case of large corporations are nominal at best, while the same fines for an individual whistleblowers may be a large deterrent to whistleblowing. Given its relatively recent passage and the fact that it will undergo amendment this year to be in line with the new EU Directive, it is unclear the efficacy of this law for current or would-be whistleblowers. Therefore, whistleblowers may be better off reporting to U.S. regulators, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.

Other legal mechanisms potentially supporting Croatian whistleblowers include: the Labour Code, Criminal Code and Law on Public Servants.

It is worth noting that there are reward provisions for successful whistleblowers in any of the aforementioned laws. Therefore, again, whistleblowers may be better off reporting to U.S. regulators, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.

Other legal mechanisms potentially supporting Croatian whistleblowers include: the Labour Code, Criminal Code and Law on Public Servants.

It is worth noting that there are reward provisions for successful whistleblowers in any of the aforementioned laws. Therefore, again, whistleblowers may be better off reporting to U.S. regulators, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.

Can Croatian whistleblowers receive rewards?

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

Recent updates and future legislative developments

Croatia is currently in the process of transposing the EU Whistleblower Directive and and has created a plan for the draft bill to be harmonized with Croatia’s existing whistleblower protection law.

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

No law in Croatia currently prohibits Croatian 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, Croatian whistleblowers can and should report relevant violations to U.S. officials under these laws.

Introduction for Croatian Whistleblowers Using U.S. Laws