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Costa Rica   

Costa Rica passes law for the protection of whistleblowers and witnesses of acts of corruption against labor retaliation

June 6, 2024

BLP Legal - On February 8, 2024, Costa Rica passed a law to protect persons who report acts of corruption and the witnesses of those who report, which applies to both the public and private sectors.

From the labor perspective, this law introduces a special protection jurisdiction and a series of measures to ensure that whistleblowers and witnesses do not suffer labor retaliation. The most important aspects of this law are highlighted below:

1. Protective jurisdiction: Since the law protects whistleblowers and witnesses of acts of corruption, those who attest cannot be suspended, fired, dismissed, or suffer retaliation.

2. Retaliation claims: Examples of retaliation include suffering unfavorable changes in working conditions or remuneration, restrictions on advancement within the company, negative performance evaluations, initiation of unfounded disciplinary actions,  coercion, intimidation, or sexual/labor harassment.

3. Reporting channels: Employers will now have to define a channel for receiving and following up on reports of acts of corruption, especially when the company has more than 50 employees,  enabling complainants to file reports anonymously by electronic means.

4. Retaliation Fines: Companies that fail to comply with this law and retaliate against protected whistleblowers could be fined anywhere from 1 to 100 base salaries.

5. Amendment to Article 404 of the Labor Code: To include as a prohibited cause of discrimination when there is a complaint or testimony about acts of corruption within the company.

6. Confidentiality: Obligating the company and those in charge of receiving and following up on corruption complaints to keep the case confidential.

This new law significantly strengthens the protection of employees’ rights by promoting a more transparent and safe work environment, by guaranteeing the confidentiality of whistleblowers and assisting during the investigation process to get to the truth of the facts reported, providing clear mechanisms for reporting and protecting against retaliation, and encouraging employees to report cases of corruption without fear of negative consequences to the security of maintaining employment.

Therefore, companies must adapt to these significant changes, implementing whistleblowing channels to ensure compliance with these new provisions to promote a good work environment free of acts of corruption.


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