As the legislative process is likely to advance fast, the whistleblowing draft law being registered with the Parliament and the Government emergency procedure request being approved, we are continuing our follow-up session weekly Whistleblowing Q&A for Companies with the basics on companies’ whistleblowing procedure:
What is the main focus when talking about companies’ whistleblowing procedure?
In line with the Whistleblower Directive, the law states that private companies should establish internal reporting channels, to have a reliable whistleblowing mechanism and to encourage employees to report internally any breaches.
Therefore, internal reporting goes first and companies need to establish a procedure in line with the law requirements.
The following 9 key aspects should be considered by companies when implementing an internal reporting procedure:
- conceiving, establishing and managing the way of receiving reports so as to protect the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower and of any third party mentioned in the report and to prevent the access to reporting of unauthorized personnel;
- sending to the whistleblower the confirmation of receipt of the report within a max. of 7 calendar days from its receipt;
- the appointment of a person, a department or a third party, with powers in terms of receiving, registering, examining, carrying out follow-up actions and solving reports, acting with impartiality and being independent in exercising these powers;
- diligently performing the follow-up actions by the designated person/department/third party;
- informing the whistleblower about the status of the follow-up actions within a max. of 3 months from the date of the acknowledgement of receipt or, if the receipt of the report has not been confirmed, from the expiry of the 7-day term, as well as, subsequently, whenever there are developments in the performance of the follow-up actions, unless the information could jeopardize their development;
- informing the heads of authorities, public institutions, other legal entities of public law, as well as private legal entities, about the way of solving the reporting;
- providing easily accessible information on external reporting procedures to the competent authorities and, where appropriate, to the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the European Union;
- keeping the whistleblower updated about the way of solving the report;
- the designated person, as well as the means of reporting, shall be made known to each employee within the company by displaying on the website or by displaying at his or her premises in a prominent place accessible to employees. The employer shall ensure that at all times at least one means of reporting is accessible.