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French Corporate Environment Not So Whistleblower-Friendly

January 9, 2006

It appears that the French government has a very different philosophy from that of the U.S. government when it comes to employee whistleblowers. As the attached article ( DataProtection_Dhont.pdf) discusses in depth, far from seeking to encourage and reward whistleblowing, French law is affirmatively concerned that the practice may abuse individuals' privacy and data-protection rights, with the result that in the past year, French regulators and courts have struck down Sarbanes-Oxley-inspired efforts by several American companies to implement ethics hotlines for their French employees, and the most recent French regulatory guidance permits such hotlines only under limited circumstances, and with appropriate safeguards to prevent defamation and protect privacy.

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

Kris D. Meade
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2854