Share article:
Share article:

RTBF sacks whistle-blower who revealed CEO’s salary

© Bruno Fahy/Belga

The board of the French-speaking public broadcaster RTBF has approved the dismissal of a human resources manager who revealed to the press the salary of the director-general, Jean-Paul Philippot.

The woman, who has not been named, was dismissed for “serious misconduct”. She was previously the head of the administrative department of the human resources division, in charge of payroll matters.

As such, it was she who leaked to the press in 2016 the details of the remuneration package of the RTBF boss Philippot. The motive: according to established practice governed by a circular from 2014 from the French Community, which set a cap on the salaries of all officials of organisations dependent on the Community of €250,000 a year before deductions.

Allowing for indexation, the limit on 1 January 2016 would have been €250,138. But not the case of Philippot. In 2016, the whistle-blower revealed, his salary was in line to be between €295,000 and €330,000. Not only was it higher than the absolute limit, it was also more than the amount published in the annual report of the Community.

In addition, alone among administrators of public entities, Philippot would receive part of his remuneration as a variable package that would depend on the performance of the RTBF. Something which Françoise Bertieaux (MR), member of the parliament of the French Community, pointed out was based on no known criteria.

The revelation led to a scandal at the time, and Philippot was obliged to repay €60,000, and his remuneration was revised downwards.

A disciplinary proceeding was begun against the whistle-blower, and a dossier compiled that eventually ran to over 1,000 pages.

The matter came to a head this week, when the board of the broadcaster decided on a vote of ten to one with one abstention to dismiss the leaker.

The board is made up of four representatives of the PS, four MR, two Ecolo, two PTB and one CDH. The details of the breakdown of the vote are confidential. One board member was absent for the vote.

According to Le Vif magazine, the employee is preparing to appeal the dismissal before the Council of State, which has authority over all decisions of all levels of government and of public administrations.

Whistleblowing is usually defined as unauthorised disclosure or reporting of corporate information to people and media outside the organisation (external disclosure).  Whistleblowing, however, can also take place inside the organisation when for example an employee reports that wrong-doing or malpractice has occurred (internal disclosure).

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB busses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...
Heirs of Michael Jackson demand that Belgian radio show ‘King of Pop’ changes name
The heirs of American pop singer Michael Jackson have demanded that a Belgian radio programme, called "King of Pop" changes its name, their lawyers ...
More than one billion coronavirus vaccines exported by EU
The European Union (EU) has exported more than one billion coronavirus vaccines globally over the past ten months, of which just under one-tenth was ...
SNCB brings free little libraries to stations
The Belgian railway company SNCB is adding free little libraries to its stations. The “book boxes,” as they’re called, allow passengers to grab a ...
Belgium in Brief: What Is Bouncing Back?
What do you think of when you think of a country "bouncing back" after a crisis?  Cambridge Dictionary says it is "to start to be successful again ...
Café patron stabs manager after being asked to see proof of vaccination
A customer stabbed a café manager in Brussels on Saturday after being asked to show his Covid Safe Ticket (CST), according to Bruzz. Asking to see ...
Belgium to simplify administrative processes with ‘digital wallet’
The federal government wants to create an online "wallet" for all people living in Belgium which would bundle all official documents, from visas to ...
‘Start of infection wave’: Flanders to turn red on European map again
Flanders will turn red on the map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) again this week, as the daily average of new ...
Staff strike at application centre for asylum seekers
The staff of an application centre for asylum seekers in Brussels began a 24-strike on Monday morning, meaning that no one can apply for asylum there ...
Bpost plans to merge parcel and letter services in Belgium
The new CEO of Bpost – Belgium's primary mail delivery company and one of the country's largest civilian employers – has decided to merge the ...
Belgian playground bullying drama wins at London Film Festival
Playground (original title 'Un Monde'), the first feature film by Belgian director Laura Wandel, was awarded the top prize in the First Feature ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...