French law permits its 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.
What disclosures are currently protected?
Under Sapin II, france’s primary whistleblower law, employee-whistleblowers who report certain serious crimes including “any serious harm or threat to the public interest, as well as violations of the national and international law” can receive protection from retaliation, companies with 50 or more employees are required to have confidential whistleblower channels, and the burden of proof is reversed in retaliation cases.
However, amongst other deficiencies, under this law there are no reward provisions for successful whistleblowers, whistleblowers must report internally to employers before going to the authorities, and there is no centralized whistleblower office. Therefore, whistleblowers may be better off reporting to U.S. regulators, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.
Can French whistleblowers receive rewards?
There is no law in France providing whistleblowers rewards, however, they may receive rewards through U.S. laws.
Recent updates and future legislative developments
France is currently in the process of transposing the EU directive and is currently accepting public comments on proposed legislation. Once this process is complete whistleblowers and advocates will have a better sense as to whether France will listen to these comments and adopt international best practices or whether they will only nominally update Sapin II to be in compliance with the Directive.
Can/should French whistleblowers report to U.S. officials?
No law in France currently prohibits French 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, French whistleblowers can and should report relevant violations to U.S. officials under these laws.