Information about TI Estonia's Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) and how to contact us
The aim ALAC is to help people who have witnessed misconduct in the workplace (e.g. an employee or a partner, etc.) and to help them find the best solution to their case amidst the lack of legislation. More than 90 ALACs are represented in 60 countries and more than 270,000 people have contacted the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres since 2003 to safely report corruption.
The work of ALAC and the whistleblower’s rights are limited until we have a full-fledged whistleblower protection law. At the same time, several organizations have already established reporting channels and procedures. Despite different and incomplete practices, the ALAC team works to listen, analyze, advise and confidentially contribute to help solve the problems raised by whistleblowers.
How we can help
You can turn to TI Estonia's ALAC with the following concerns:
- receive general information on the rights and obligations of whistleblowers depending on the sector, organization, nature of the violation, legal framework, etc.
- get guidelines for searching for official information and preventing corruption-prone situations
- get advice on where to turn to (employer, other competent institutions, the press) and how to report safely
- get instructions for filing a case report
We do not guarantee that all the reports filed to us will be resolved, and we may not be able to provide support in all cases. Transparency International Estonia is a small organization with limited resources, and our help depends on many factors, including our capacity and knowledge on the subject. Furthermore, the lack of legal space and the reluctance of organizations to deal with reports may hinder getting the expected results.
Based on the cases and data collected, we compile reports without including any personal data, to help identify corruption risks and communicate them to the people and organizations empowered to effect change.
What we can’t do
We do not:
- investigate cases (i.e. do not make follow-up inquiries or verify the accuracy of the facts presented)
- represent those who contact ALAC in legal disputes and do not prepare legal documents on their behalf
- disclose cases on behalf of the client
- advise an individual who continues or engages in illegal or unethical activities
- provide assistance to an individual whose complaints are clearly unfounded or who contests the processes, decisions, actions and procedures of organizations for which different methods of challenge or information requests are provided
TI Estonia's ALAC does not have direct contact with all relevant institutions, be they public or private organizations, judicial authorities, media or other relevant organizations. Thus, ALAC cannot assume the role of mediator or resolver.
You can contact us via the secure GlobaLeaks platform, where you can specify your questions, add files, etc. without revealing your identity. The platform does not store the whistleblower’s information in any form, and if you wish to remain anonymous, you can do so.
- More information on how to report using GlobaLeaks platform, can be found here.
- Remember that you will be given a 16-digit code, which can be used to log into the platform to view messages from ALAC and/or update your report. If it is lost or you have forgotten it, it is not possible to continue communication and a new report must be filed.
- Before filing the report, please read about the principles of ALAC’s work in the menu on the right.
Creating Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre was funded by the Active Citizens Fund of EEA grants, which is mediated by the Open Estonia Foundation in cooperation with the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations.
There is still a lot of ignorance associated with whistleblowing and it can be said that reporting misconduct is not widespread or accepted in Estonian society. There is also no independent support for whistleblowers to assess their chances of whistleblowing and receive protection. It is therefore important that the whistleblower has information about what their rights and obligations are, how to ensure confidentiality when reporting and knowledge of the results of the investigation.
In the Estonian cultural space, whistleblowers are viewed rather negatively due to their historical background. To this day, comparisons are made with “snitches”, “moles” and other Soviet-era information leakers, who were seen as traitors rather than defenders of the public interest. It is clear from the examples of whistleblowing that have reached the public in Estonia that whistleblowers are persecuted or condemned, and that the confidentiality of these persons is not adequately protected. Continuous work is needed to change the image of reporting and improve the treatment of whistleblowers.
Whistleblowing is considered one of the most effective ways to stop misconduct. Many cases related to corruption and fraud have been revealed precisely by employees who informed their employers about the problems. However, if there is no reporting, transparency will decrease, fraud, corruption and other violations will continue to operate unhindered, ultimately damaging democratic values such as the rule of law and ensuring equal opportunities, but above all causing both financial and reputational damage to organizations and their employees.
According to Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (aka the EU Whistleblower Directive), the member states of the European Union were obliged to transpose the directive by 17 December 2021 at the latest. Estonia has not transposed the directive into its law, and the entry into force of the Whistleblower Directive is still questionable.