What is whistleblowing?
Pursuant to Act No 171/2023 Coll., on the protection of whistleblowers (hereinafter the “Whistleblower Protection Act”), the term whistleblowing refers to the process of revealing unfair conduct by means of filing a report, i.e. providing information to persons who can investigate such reported fact, or take action and take measures to correct or prevent it. When investigating a given situation, the absolute protection of the identity of the whistleblower is emphasised. It is therefore a tool that leads to the prevention and detection of illegal practices and unfair or unlawful conduct.
|Unlawful conduct that has the characteristics of a criminal offence or misdemeanour with a maximum applicable fine of at least CZK 100,000, conduct that violates the Whistleblower Protection Act, or conduct that violates other legislation or EU legislation in the areas defined by the Whistleblower Protection Act. If these conditions are met, this may include corruption, threats to health, safety or the environment, the abuse of power, and activities intended to conceal the above conduct.
|An individual who makes a complaint/notification about unfair conduct of which they have become aware in connection with their work or similar activity. Typically, these are current and former employees, persons working on the basis of agreements outside an employment relationship, self-employed persons and their employees, or members of corporate bodies.
The person responsible for the entire course of the investigation, who will deal with, investigate and give feedback on submitted notifications in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act or this directive, including to the whistleblower and persons who will decide on any corrective measures to be taken. This person is duly instructed and maintains strict confidentiality
Submitting a complaint
Whistleblowers can use both internal and external reporting channels. However, as a priority, they should use the internal notification channel to submit notifications. The notification must include their name, surname, date of birth and job title. Anonymous submissions will not be investigated.
Externally, it is possible to submit a notification with the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic, namely: In writing - using an electronic form and email; Verbally (by phone); In person - on request. The relevant contact details are listed on the Ministry of Justice website.
Internal submissions can be made in the following ways:
• Electronic submission via the email address email@example.com
IN PERSON OR BY TELEPHONE
• In person to the responsible person at the address K Borovému 99, Říčany Jažlovice
• Daniela Skořepová
• By phone to the responsible person at +420 720 936 757
Procedure for investigation of reports
All notifications will be considered objectively, confidentially, impartially and thoroughly by the responsible person. Unless provided for in this directive or the Whistleblower Protection Act or any other law, the responsible person is obliged to maintain confidentiality regarding any facts of which they become aware in the course of their activities.
Other persons who gain access to a notification or part thereof, even if without authorisation, are obliged not to provide information that could defeat or undermine the purpose of the notification.
The responsible person will notify the whistleblower of the receipt of their notification and will instruct them as provided for in point 5.1 of this directive.
In the event of verbal notification (by phone or in person), the responsible person will make an audio recording of the notification (if technically possible) and, where appropriate, a transcript of the recording. If a transcript of the recording is made, the whistleblower will be given the opportunity to comment on the transcript and the whistleblower's comments will be attached to the transcript. If the whistleblower does not consent to the making of an audio recording or transcript, the responsible person may not make one. In such a case, or if an audio recording is not made for any other reason, a report will be made which faithfully captures the substance of the verbal notification and which allows the whistleblower to comment on the report; the whistleblower's comments will be attached to the report.
The responsible person is obliged to investigate the notification and inform the whistleblower in writing of the result of the investigation within 30 calendar days from its receipt (unless the whistleblower has requested not to be informed or if this step would reveal the identity of the whistleblower). In cases of particular legal or factual complexity, the time limit may be extended by an additional 30 calendar days, but not more than twice. The whistleblower must be informed of any extension of the time limit before such extension. The responsible person will duly justify the outcome of the investigation.
If the notification is not a notification within the meaning of this directive, the responsible person will immediately inform the whistleblower in writing and advise them on how to proceed with the notification (e.g. who they should contact with the notified facts).
In the event the responsible person assesses the notification as incomplete, they will contact the whistleblower and ask them to complete the information necessary for a proper investigation.
If the complaint is directed against a particular employee, that person must be informed without undue delay of the content of the complaint and must be given the opportunity to comment on the matter and to submit documents, papers and other information relevant to the matter under consideration.
As mentioned above, during an investigation emphasis is placed on the protection of the identity of the whistleblower and the protection of personal data pursuant to the relevant legislation. In the event the identity of the whistleblower could be inferred from the content of the complaint, the employee against whom the complaint is directed will not be informed of the content of the complaint or of other information leading to the disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower, unless the whistleblower consents to the disclosure of their identity. The same procedure will apply for other persons.
If the responsible person is obliged to provide identity data to the competent public authorities pursuant to applicable legislation, they must inform the whistleblower of this fact in advance, stating the reasons why this is being done, and allow the whistleblower to comment on the provision of the data.
Assessment of an investigation
If the notification is found to be substantiated, the responsible person will propose to the executives, i.e. the CEO, CFO and BD&Marketing director, that they take specific corrective measures aimed at preventing or eliminating the illegal situation notified by the whistleblower. The nature of such specific corrective measures is then decided by the company's executives based on the recommendations of the responsible person. The executives, having decided what specific corrective measures will be taken, will inform the responsible person about them. The responsible person will inform the whistleblower of the corrective measures to be taken without undue delay. The responsible person will not inform the whistleblower of the adoption of the corrective measures if the whistleblower has expressly requested not to be informed of the adoption of corrective measures or if this would reveal the identity of the whistleblower.
If the responsible person assesses the notification as unfounded, they will inform the whistleblower in writing without undue delay that they did not find that the suspected offence was committed or that the notification is based on false information and will inform the whistleblower of their right to submit the notification to a public authority. They will provide proper justification for this conclusion.
No whistleblower may be penalised in any way in connection with a notification. Such conduct would be considered as retaliation, which is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. This protection applies not only to the whistleblower, but also to a wider range of persons defined by the Whistleblower Protection Act, such as persons close to the whistleblower.
A person who knowingly makes a false notification will not be protected from retaliation. On the contrary, the deliberate submission of a false notification, as well as other misuse of the reporting channel, will be considered a breach of the employee's duty for which the employee may be sanctioned.