Legislation Protecting Whistleblowers Passed in Iceland

The Icelandic Parliament has passed its first-ever comprehensive legislation protecting whistleblowers. The act protects employees in both the public and private sectors who in good faith provide information or disseminate data on their employer’s violations of law or other noteworthy conduct. The legislation takes effect at the beginning of next year.

According to the legislation, the dissemination of information or data, subject to the conditions of the legislation, is not considered an infringement of the employee’s duty of confidentiality or professional secrecy. Furthermore, it does not make the employee subject to penalties or liable for damages nor can it lead to administrative penalties or a reduction of the employee’s rights.

The legislation makes a distinction between whistleblowing within an organisation and publicly, and assumes that public whistleblowing is normally not permitted unless the employee has brought the issue to light within the company first and the case involves a violation that warrants imprisonment or is of extreme public interest.