Answer ... The Swiss Parliament is discussing whether to add protection for whistleblowers to the Swiss labour and criminal laws. The new legislation would give employees the opportunity to report suspicious irregularities without the risk of breaching their duties to the company, resulting in civil and criminal penalties. This legislative project should be closely monitored.
The Office of the Attorney General has also proposed the introduction of a deferred prosecution agreement similar to instruments used in the United States, under which it would be possible to settle proceedings out of court where the accused cooperates fully with the authorities. The prosecution authority would temporarily forgo an indictment if the accused agrees to comply, improve compliance standards and, for example, agrees on the appointment of independent monitors.
Another development concerns the prosecution of companies by the Office of the Attorney General, which has announced that it will investigate and prosecute routinely the criminal liability of companies.
Meanwhile, if the Responsible Business Initiative is accepted by voters, a new Article 101a will be added to the Swiss Federal Constitution which would impose additional legal obligations on companies with their registered office, central administration or principal place of business in Switzerland in relation to human rights and environmental affairs (see question 3.5). A vote is expected in 2020.