Information for the whistleblower
Compliance is a matter for everyone and is the duty of every member of staff. The management and managers have a role-model function and bear particular responsibility for adherence to our compliance principles. In addition to always acting in compliance with relevant laws, regulations and internal rules, compliance also entails respectful and non-discriminatory dealings with each other within the company as well as a consistent handling of compliance violations.
It is therefore important to give members of staff the opportunity for compliance issues to be reported and discussed promptly. Ensuring this is a task for our managers. As the right course of action in any given situation may not always be obvious, all members of staff are required to express themselves freely in order to clarify their questions and concerns, to raise grievances or report possible misconduct and breaches of our compliance rules, using the standard channels and means of communication to do so.
As additional channel of communication, HENSOLDT has established "OpenLine" – a special means of communication which is available to all members of staff. OpenLine gives staff the possibility to report their concerns and other information via telephone to an external lawyer (the so-called ‘Ombudsman’) or via email to the HENSOLDT compliance notification system.
What do we want to achieve with the notification system?
As a general rule, we prefer open and free communication. The first point of contact to report to will normally be line managers, the HR department, or the Compliance department. We also accept anonymous reports in circumstances where employees prefer not to disclose their identity.
We take all such reports seriously and will follow up on each in an appropriate and confidential manner. Furthermore, HENSOLDT will not tolerate any prejudicial treatment of the persons who provide them. This is also the case where, on closer examination, notifications prove to be unjustified or unsubstantiated, unless it was provided in an evidently slanderous or libelous manner.
Purpose of the notification system for employees
With the aid of the OpenLine compliance notification system employees can:
- ask questions or seek advice about compliance policies, rules, and regulations;
- report possible breaches (deliberate or inadvertent) of compliance rules or regulations.
Why the system can be used for questions as well as for reports?
Our integrity and compliance with all laws, regulations, and internal rules affects everybody. Severe breaches of rules and regulations, and/or dishonest conduct can jeopardize the business as a whole and jobs. For this reason, all employees are urged to keep their eyes open, to address irregularities indicating a breach of internal rules, a violation of laws or regulations or otherwise dishonest or improper conduct, and to request advice in case of doubt about their own conduct or that of their colleagues.
It is our aim to detect potential weak points in our internal rules and controls at an early stage and to address them in good time. How, and in what form, useful information reaches us is ultimately irrelevant. Even a question asked can reveal a need for improvement.
Rights and duties of the whistle-blower
Before reporting any possible misconduct, you should carefully, conscientiously, and objectively consider the nature and seriousness of any accusation made, any supporting evidence, whether there are any legitimate justifications for such behavior, and the most suitable channel and means by which to report it, if necessary.
Information concerning a compliance violation must be given in good faith and be based on a verifiable representations of the facts (e.g. by reference to documents or records).
The whistle-blower will not suffer any repercussions or employment disadvantage when information is supplied in good faith – even if, following investigation, any accusations are found to be unsubstantiated and/or no further action is deemed necessary. This is not the case, however, if the report was knowingly and intentionally false or misleading.
It is forbidden to use OpenLine to express suspicions of others against your better judgment. Violations of this rule may have consequences in accordance with employment law.
What will happen with my query or information?
Your query, report or other information provided will be received only by a "HENSOLDT Case Manager". He or she will decide what happens next. Obviously improper or unsubstantiated information or complaints may not be pursued.
The HENSOLDT Case Manager will determine:
- whether it is a question for advice which can be answered immediately in which case an answer will be provided via the means of communication chosen by you. The response may include questions to further clarify the relevant facts and/or to ensure the advice given properly addresses the issues raised; and/or.
- whether the matter is information about a possible compliance breach or other misconduct, areas of compliance risk, or suggestions for improvements, which will have to be investigated in more detail. In such cases, the HENSOLDT Case Manager will then instigate the measures which he or she considers appropriate to get to the bottom of the matter in accordance with internal procedures.
Please note that in certain countries, the acceptance and processing of anonymous information is permitted only when it is to report possible violations of internal accounting controls, corruption, competition law, human rights and/or environmental laws (so-called "hard factors"). If you are based in a jurisdiction where such restrictions on anonymous reporting apply and have information to report pertaining to other issues (so-called "soft factors"), the acceptance and processing of such information anonymously is simply not possible.
How am I protected if I submit a notification or a query?
First of all, when submitting a notification or a query you can choose to remain anonymous. In the notification system, information is encrypted so as to ensure its confidentiality. Access to such reports by unauthorized persons or to the system provider is, thereby, prevented.
If you would like to receive a personal response, please provide your contact details, your name, telephone number, e-mail address and function at HENSOLDT in the text of your notification. The HENSOLDT Case Manager will then be able to identify and reply to you personally.
If you want a response to your query without disclosing your identity, tick the field “permit response” on the form. The system will allocate a “user token” relating to the matter to your query. The response to your query will be placed in a digital in-box to which only you can gain access using your password and the user token. If you lose or forget the password or user token, you will no longer be able to access the inbox.
Irrespective of this, we will not tolerate any form whatsoever of discrimination against persons who submit notifications to us. This also applies where notifications prove to be unjustified or unsubstantiated upon closer examination, unless such a notification was provided in an evidently slanderous or libelous manner.
Can I also transmit files or images with the information I provide?
Yes, it is possible to attach files or images to information. However, for security reasons, only image files are permitted (PDF, JPG, PNG or similar).
Please note that files or images usually contain hidden data (so-called meta-data) which may contain information about the creator of the file or, in the case of images, often the specific coordinates of the location where the image was taken. You should delete this meta-data if you want to protect your anonymity. If you need help to do this, you will find simple instructions online.
What happens if my notification or query relates to a matter in which I myself breached regulations or acted dishonestly?
If your notification or query discloses or leads to the conclusion that you have committed a serious breach of laws, regulations, or internal rules, the fact that you self-reported the conduct will not necessarily protect you from the appropriate employment, or in extreme cases – criminal, consequences of your actions. That having been said, the contribution made by the person who provided relevant information in the first place or who prevented further risks may be taken into account when evaluating the appropriate measures to be taken in response to the breach.
Will my query or notification be stored?
Yes, your notifications will be stored in the notification system, as will the assessment based on the category and seriousness of the matter reported, and will be used for the purpose of internal reporting, which – depending on the significance of the matter – may include a brief description of the issues reported, a summary of the response provided and/or the details and outcome of any internal investigation conducted.
Storage of personal data takes place in accordance with the requirements of data protection laws. There is no intention or technical procedure enabling the automatic communication of the data stored.
The information will be deleted, at the latest two months after conclusion of any internal investigation – unless it is required pursuant to any employment or legal proceedings. Anonymized details, such as the nature of the circumstances and the area affected, will be saved by the HENSOLDT Group for statistical purposes. Obviously improper or unsubstantiated information will be deleted by the HENSOLDT Case Manager.
Will I be informed of the outcome?
If you wish to be informed of the outcome of your notification, please indicate this in your notification and tick the box "permit response". Feedback will be provided in so far as is deemed appropriate depending on the particular nature and circumstances of the issues reported. After reviewing the information, the HENSOLDT Case Manager will keep himself or herself informed of what happens next, where possible. If you fail to tick the "permit response" box, it will not be possible to provide any feedback or information to you
Will the employees concerned be informed about my notification or query?
Until any investigation is completed, the presumption of innocence shall apply to the benefit of all persons named in the report. In the event that an investigation is deemed necessary, all persons questioned as part of that investigation will be given the opportunity to comment on the information and evidence obtained, and to defend themselves where appropriate. The identity of the whistle-blower will remain confidential and will not be disclosed to the persons in question.
Can my boss obtain access to my notification or query if he insists?
No. The information provided will remain confidential and the HENSOLDT Case Manager, and any other persons involved in processing the information provided, is subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. This means also that no other persons except to those mentioned before will have access to the files and to the investigation results.
Should I assume that the information I provide will generate further enquiries or a formal investigation?
In case of notifications and queries relating to possible misconduct, weak points and improvement potentials, HENSOLDT takes all information reported in this way seriously, and will follow-up on all alleged misconduct in a proportionate and reasonable manner.
Please be aware, that depending on the specific details you provide or supporting documents you attach, these may inadvertently identify you as the source of such information.
Are third parties such as law enforcement authorities and cartel authorities able to view my notification, the information or documents which I provide, and/or the results of any further enquiries carried out?
Government authorities are entitled to access all information retained by the enterprise within the confines of their investigative powers. For example, within the context of an official investigation based on an order issued by a judge, the Office of the Public Prosecutor and cartel authorities may conduct searches or require HENSOLDT to give access to, or hand-over copies of, all documents and records concerning the matter under investigation. The enterprise may avert orders and official searches by surrendering the relevant documents. To be clear, these may in theory include any information provided via the HENSOLDT notification system.