Littler Global Guide - Costa Rica - Q4 2023

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Costa Rica Passes First “Whistleblower Law” to Protect Complainants and Witnesses of Possible Corruption

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Marco Arias, Partner – BDS, Member of Littler Global

On December 13, 2023, the Legislative Chamber of Costa Rica passed Bill No. 23,449, called “Protección de las personas denunciantes y testigos de actos de corrupción contra represalias laborales” (Law for the protection of complainants and witnesses of acts of corruption against retaliation in employment). Once signed by the President and published in the official journal La Gaceta, it will become the first law to properly create and regulate whistleblower protections in Costa Rica.

The law, which is intended to protect both whistleblowers and witnesses of both national and international acts of corruption from any type of retaliation in employment, defines “acts of corruption” to apply to both public officials and individuals who work for private sector employers but who may be performing “public functions” as part of their job. The definition of "complaint" is similarly broad and includes passing information about possible acts of corruption and does not require filing of a formal complaint.

Significantly, the law also imposes an obligation on all employers of 50 or more employees to create an internal channel to receive and address complaints and a duty to maintain the confidentiality of complainants, including any information that could lead to their identification.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.