Notification procedure for misconduct

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Does your company employ over 50 people? Then you must meet the requirements of the Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act (Wet bescherming klokkenluiders, Wbk). The law requires you to have a notification procedure in place, which makes it possible to report misconduct or suspicions of misconduct.

What is a notification procedure?

A notification procedure is a means for employees to report a suspicion of misconduct within the organisation, and to do so safely and confidentially. You have to inform your employees about the notification procedure. In the notification procedure you descrive how you handle a notification, for example:

  • where and how an employee can submit their report safely and confidentially
  • who then handles the report independently and confidentially
  • the period in which the employee must receive a response to the report

You can find more information on how to draw up a notification procedure and what it should contain in the Dutch Whistleblowers Authority’s brochure. You can use the Dutch-language checklist to see if your notification procedure meets the requirements.

Please note: from 17 December 2023, companies with 50 to 249 employees must have stronger protections for whistleblowers.

What is considered misconduct?

Misconduct is defined as dangerous, immoral, or illegal practices that harm society. For instance:

  • a violation or threat of violation of national or European Union law
  • a threat to public health
  • a threat to personal safety
  • a threat to the environment
  • a threat to the proper functioning of a public service or enterprise

The notification procedure is not meant for reporting individual problems between an employee and an employer.

Who must have a notification procedure?

You must have a notification procedure in place if you have more than 50 employees. This includes:

  • workers with an employment contract
  • employees you have seconded or outsourced
  • agency workers
  • volunteers and trainees who receive compensation
  • other persons who you count as employees, if you have agreed this with the works council (OR)

In some sectors, such as the financial sector, a notification procedure is always mandatory. Even if the company employs less than 50 people.

The Dutch Whistleblowers Authority

An employee can report a case of company or government misconduct to the Dutch Whistleblowers Authority (in Dutch). The Dutch Whistleblowers Authority can help you as an employer to prevent misconduct, and to improve your organisation’s integrity.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO