General information for whistleblowers
Providing a respectful, safe and appreciative working environment for everyone has top priority for BayWa r.e. At the same time any form of misconduct, unlawful action or non-compliant behaviour is unacceptable and by being alerted early to any irregularities, BayWa r.e. is able to proactively address them.
Our whistleblower system offers all employees and external third parties an anonymous way to report on specific indications of potential misconduct concerning our compliance or HR guidelines.
Everyone is encouraged to approach their superior, HR responsible or legal counsel first if they perceive a lack of clarity regarding the current compliance rules or HR guidelines. Also, in case of questions in this respect or any indication of misconduct of a BayWa r.e. employee or a business partner that conflicts with our regulations, ideally a personal conversation should be sought first. In cases where a personal conversation is not an option, everyone is encouraged to use the whistleblower system as an anonymous way to report on specific indications of potential misconduct, unlawful action or non-compliant behaviour.
What is the objective of the whistleblower system?
The whistleblower system allows people to anonymously report inappropriate situations or those that are not in line with our principles, current compliance standards or if any kind of unequal treatment, harassment or bullying is taking place in our company. It should be used if open communication with superiors, HR or compliance is not possible, or a person does not want to disclose their identity.
All notifications are followed up and no form of prejudicial treatment of persons who provide them will take place or will be tolerated. This also applies if notifications prove to be unjustified upon closer examination, unless such a notification was intentionally given incorrectly. However, it is technically impossible to identify you as long as the information you provide does not permit conclusions to be drawn about your identity.
Purpose of the whistleblower system?
Why can the whistleblower system be used to ask questions as well?
What happens to my query or to my notification?
Your query or your notification is initially received by a case worker. Depending on the selected category, this can be...
- an HR manager of the company (e.g. for topics like occupational safety, health protection, discrimination, leadership or employee behavior, etc.) or
- a Compliance Officer of the company (e.g. for topics like fraud, data protection, theft cartel, etc.)
The case worker will then assess,
- whether it is a query seeking advice which can be answered immediately and will send you a corresponding response via the communication channel you selected. In an individual case, it might be necessary for the case worker to pose further questions in order to correctly understand and respond to your query.
- whether it is notification of a possible misconduct which requires further assessment. The case worker will initiate further appropriate measures in accordance with the relevant company procedures.
How am I protected if I submit a notification or a query?
The exchange of information via the whistleblower system takes place completely in encoded form. It is not possible for unauthorized persons to view the contents.
When submitting your query or your notification, you can choose to remain anonymous or to provide your contact data. If you wish to remain anonymous, it is not possible to identify you unless the information you provide permits conclusions as to your identity.
If you wish to receive a personal response, please provide your contact details, name, telephone number, e-mail address and function within the enterprise in the text of your query. Your personal data will then be available to the handling office within the enterprise. We will treat your contact data in confidence insofar as permitted by law.
How can I receive responses or information about the outcome of the proceedings without disclosing my identity?
If you wish to receive a response to your query or notification without disclosing your identity, then mark the box “allow queries” on the input screen. The system will allocate a process “token” to your query. You will also be asked to determine a password. The response to your query or notification will be placed in a “digital letterbox” that you can then access using your password and the “process token”. You will be unable to access the digital letterbox without your password and the “token”. In that case you will have to submit a new notification.
The case worker will first verify matters and then inform you about the further sequence of events, insofar as possible. If you do not activate the box “allow queries”, it will not be possible to inform you.
Can I transmit files or images together with information?
Yes, it is possible to attach files or images to information.
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 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 do I have to do if I want to have a personal meeting?
If you wish to have a personal meeting, kindly mark the box “personal meeting requested” as well as the box “allow queries” so that the case worker can contact you to arrange the details. Please provide a brief description in the input box as to where and how you would be able to attend a personal meeting.
What happens if my query or notification concerns a matter in which I myself broke the rules or was involved in misconduct?
If your query or your notification about the discovery of breaches of the rules by you personally means that you incriminate yourself, this will not protect you subsequently against the appropriate measures under employment law or against possible consequences under criminal law. However, when deciding such matters, the contribution by a person whose information leads to the discovery of breaches of the rules and to the prevention of further risks, can be taken into account.
Will my query or my notification be stored?
Messages you dispatch will be stored within the whistleblower system, as will an assessment of both the relevant sector of the enterprise and the significance of the notification. In addition, communication with you via the “digital letterbox” will be stored within the system, as will the processing comments of the case worker, any measures implemented, and conclusions drawn during the further handling of the case.
Insofar as personal data is processed within this procedure, this will take place within the framework of data protection regulations. The automatic communication of stored data to third parties is not supported technically and does not take place.
Are the employees concerned informed about my query or my notification?
Can my superior obtain access to my notification or query if he/she insists?
The initial recipient of your notification or query and any other persons involved in processing it within the enterprise are subject to a confidentiality obligation. This means that nobody who is not involved in processing the notification or query can inspect it or the relevant research results.
Do I have to expect that my query or my notification will trigger an investigation?
The enterprise is under an obligation to investigate all alleged breaches in a reasonable manner. For this reason, all notifications about misconduct, weak points and potential for improvement, and if appropriate queries requesting advice, are verified accordingly. Otherwise any notification you submit would be futile.
If you provide detailed information about the matter concerned or attach documents to your notification, you should be aware that this might ultimately enable your identity to be discovered.
Can third parties such as external investigation authorities view my query or notification, or conduct further research into the results?
Within the context of their investigative powers, government authorities have access to all information within the enterprise. Within the context of investigative procedures, on the basis of court orders, these authorities are entitled to demand the surrender of all documents and materials within the enterprise that relate to a certain matter, and may also conduct a search. The enterprise may avert such orders of seizure and search measures by surrendering the relevant documents and materials.
This includes any information on a certain matter within the whistleblower system.