Whistleblower protection policy in Preciosa Ornela
This policy sets out to inform reporting persons of the options available to them when reporting suspected illegal activity, which relates to PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. operations. This policy contains information about the types of suspicions that should be reported, the rights of reporting persons, procedures for investigating reports and the notifying of reporting persons of the outcomes of such investigations.
The term “whistleblowing” is used to describe a disclosure by an employee or another person of suspected wrongdoing within an organisation. It is essential that reporting persons, or whistleblowers, feel safe and report their suspicions in early stages of the suspect activity.
PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. supports its employees and other persons in reporting matters that are deemed to contravene the rules and/or values upheld by PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.. By implementing its Ethics Line, PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. makes available various reporting channels that ensure the protection of the reporting person’s identity. Where the identity of the reporting person is known, it is never disclosed without the explicit consent of the reporting person. Similarly, no other information is disclosed that could be used to infer a reporting person’s identity (unless required by law).
Timely reporting of suspected wrongdoings is beneficial as it facilitates the speedy investigation of the reported matter and reduces the chances of any negative impacts.
2. Who can file a report?
Reports may be filed by natural persons who have become aware of an illegal activity in connection with their work or similar activity performed for PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.. Such persons include:
• PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. employees (including former employees) and applicants for jobs with PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.,
• employees on temporary work assignments in PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. (“agency workers”),
• volunteers or interns working in PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.,
• sole traders acting as suppliers to PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. or bidding for a supply order from PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.,
• employees or other natural persons working under the supervision of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. suppliers,
• shareholders and/or members of statutory bodies of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. companies.
Persons whose legal relationship with PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. is yet to commence shall be subject to this policy only to the extent to which the reported information was obtained as part of pre-relationship negotiations, e. g. during the recruitment and selection of potential employees.
3. What should be reported?
The Ethics Line can be used to report suspicions of the following types of wrongdoing:
• criminal offence (including theft and fraud) or misdemeanour,
• violations of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. principles and/or procedures,
• bullying, harassment, discrimination or substance abuse,
• violations of rules pertaining to the protection of privacy and personal data, and the security of network and information systems,
• threats to health and/or safety or persons,
• damage to the environment,
• violations of other statutory obligations,
• attempts to suppress or conceal information regarding any of the above.
This policy is not concerned with grievances related to employment and/or relationships in the workplace. Solutions to work-related matters or any other issues not covered by this policy should be sought from the Human Resources department (“HR”). Any matters related to occupational health and safety should be reported in accordance with procedures defined in the internal regulations, unless the issue in question is serious and there exists a reasonable uncertainty about the advisability of reporting it through the standard channels. This policy also does not apply to any service-related complaints or complaints about unsatisfactory quality.
Reporting persons must have reasonable grounds for believing that the matter to be reported is concerned with one or more of the areas covered by this policy. It is possible to report past, current or likely future matters. There is no requirement for definitive supporting evidence to be included with the report. Disclosures need only be made in good faith given the circumstances at the time of the disclosure.
If there is doubt as to whether a suspicion should be reported, it is advisable to discuss the matter with a superior or another person in a managing position who can be trusted and is not involved in the matter in any way. It is important not to share any information about possible suspicions with anyone involved in the matter or any third party other than the person from whom confidential advice is sought
Anyone reporting a matter falling outside the scope of whistleblower protection legislation will be notified of the fact without undue delay.
4. Filing a report
It is recommended that all relevant suspicions be reported using the Ethics Line in the manner described below. This approach ensures a timely response and investigation.
It is best to use the Ethics Line portal for the reporting process. The Ethics Line is available on this link: https://ethicshotline.eu/cs/home/?client=28712226
The acceptance, administration and impartial investigation of reports is conducted for us by employees of BDO Audit s.r.o., with its registered offices at V parku 2316/12, Chodov, post code 148 00, Prague 4, reg. No.: 45314381 (“BDO”). They have been authorised by PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. to act as “competent persons” as per whistleblower protection legislation. Additional information is available on the Ethics Line portal https://ethicshotline.eu/cs/about/.
When filing a report using the Ethics Line, reporting persons will be asked to specify in particular the following:
• Relationship to PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. (employee, supplier, etc.),
• description of the reported matter including specification of time and place of occurrence,
• names of persons who may have witnessed the matter or may possess additional information related to the reported matter (any of the named persons may be contacted during the investigation stage),
• any other information and evidence that may be of use in the investigation of the report.
It is also possible to provide name and contact information. Such information may speed up the investigation considerably, but its inclusion is voluntary. If a report is to be made by other means instead of the Ethics Line portal, the reporting person will be asked to provide at least the information specified above.
Reports may also be filed by telephone on the following number +420 241 046 199 between 9:00 and 16:00.
5. Right to protection of reporting persons
It is understandable that potential reporting persons may be apprehensive about reporting their suspicions and possible consequences befalling them. PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. has developed this policy to implement a framework which ensures that PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. employees and third parties are listened to and can share their justified suspicions of wrongdoing without fear of retaliation. PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. thus ensures the protection of persons reporting their suspicions in good faith even if the suspicions subsequently prove to be unjustified. Reports made with the intention to provide knowingly false information and damage PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. do not enjoy such protections and may be penalised in compliance with whistleblower protection legislation.
Reporting persons may decide to file their reports anonymously. Where the reporting person shares their identity, PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. will not disclose any personal information without the explicit consent of the reporting person to any person other than the competent persons authorised to investigate reports. The same applies to any other information from which the identity of reporting persons could be inferred (unless required by law, such as in connection with investigation by law enforcement authorities or as part of judicial proceedings).
6. Protection of persons affected by report
Persons affected by the investigation of a report are entitled to fair treatment during the course of the investigation. This includes the unbiased and objective assessment of relevant facts, the prohibition of discrimination and the protection of personal data as stipulated by applicable legal regulations.
7. Process of report evaluation
The receipt of a report will be confirmed by BDO within seven days. BDO also notifies designated persons within PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. about the receipt of a report, together with information regarding the nature of the report.
Next, BDO evaluates whether a breach was committed as specified by whistleblower protection legislation and/or associated national legislation for the purposes of the subsequent confirming or disproving of the reported suspicion.
BDO is not authorised to share any specific information with the reporting person regarding the course of the investigation. Where possible, the reporting person will be informed as to whether the report is to be investigated or is subject to an ongoing or concluded investigation.
BDO may use a system of confidential communication with the reporting person to obtain additional information as necessary. BDO may also request a meeting with the reporting person as an opportunity for the latter to explain their suspicions in detail and provide any available evidence. The reporting person is not obliged to agree to such a meeting.
BDO may also request cooperation from any person to whom the report is related and/or other PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. employees who may assist in the investigation. Any information so obtained remains confidential. Any notes created will form part of the file maintained by competent persons during the investigation.
Information regarding received reports will be retained for at least five years from the date of receipt.
Should a reporting person feel at any point during the investigation that they are the subject of retaliatory measures as a result of their report, they must notify BDO of the fact at their earliest opportunity. Any such claim will be reviewed as part of the investigation and any person found to have participated in any retaliatory measures will be treated in compliance with applicable labour law provisions.
8. Conclusion of report evaluation
Based on the information acquired, BDO determines whether an evaluated report is justified. The conclusions of the evaluation will be described and included in the file. Anonymised conclusions will be submitted to designated persons within PRECIOSA ORNELA, a. s. along with any recommendations for the rectification of identified shortcomings and/or mitigation of identified risks.
The reporting person will be notified of the conclusion regarding the justification of their report within 30 days from the receipt of the report. This period may be extended in complicated cases by up to 30 days, no more than twice. The reporting person will be notified of any extension of the notification period.
Where measures are introduced as a result of the report evaluation with the aim of rectifying identified shortcomings or mitigating identified risks, BDO will inform the reporting person of the fact. Neither the measures introduced nor the information provided may encroach and/or jeopardise any interest protected by law, including objectives of criminal proceedings, misdemeanour proceedings or any other proceedings regarding an activity that bears the characteristics of a misdemeanour.
The term “whistleblowing” describes a disclosure by an employee or another person of suspected wrongdoing within the company. It is essential that the Reporting Persons or whistleblowers feel safe and report their suspicions in the early stages of the potentially illegal activity. PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. supports its employees and other persons in reporting matters that are deemed to contravene the rules and/or values upheld by PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.
The purpose of this document is to define procedures that enable compliance with common minimum standards set by whistleblower protection legislation; and implement channels for filing of Reports and provide a high level of protection for the Reporting Persons. Those reporting channels may be operated internally or externally by a third party.
2. Fundamental principles of Reports processing
Fundamental principles of Reports processing are as follows:
• Every report is taken seriously.
• All reports are processed in time.
• All reports are processed while maintaining confidentiality and protecting the identity of the Reporting Person.
• Anonymous reports are processed as well.
• Anonymous sources may be just as valuable as open sources.
• Reporting channels are designed to ensure Reporting Persons’ anonymity and as such they may be used without fear of undesirable consequences or reprisals.
• Reporting Persons receive confirmation of the receipt of their respective Reports where possible.
• Reporting Persons receive timely feedback following the conclusion of the investigations of their respective Reports where possible.
• Only Competent Persons can be consulted about notifications.
The chart below shows the main steps of processing of Reports – from their receipt to the conclusion of the investigation and provision of feedback to the relevant Reporting Person.
3. Personal data protection
All channels available for the filing of Reports must be designed, established and operated in a way that ensures the protection of the identity of Reporting Persons and prevents unauthorised access to personal data contained in Reports.
PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. will ensure that the identity of Reporting Persons is not disclosed without their prior consent to any person other than the Competent Persons authorised to receive Reports or manage Reports in the subsequent processes of assessment and investigation. This provision applies to any other information from which the identity of Reporting Persons could be directly or indirectly inferred. The identity of Reporting Persons and/or any other information can be disclosed to third parties only where required by law.
Processing of personal data as per this directive, is conducted in compliance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation), Act No. 110/2019 Coll., on the processing of personal data and the internal regulations of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s..
When filing a Report via the Ethics Line portal, using a dedicated telephone line or in person, Reporting Persons are asked to provide in particular the following information:
• relationship between the Reporting Person and PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. (employee, supplier, etc.),
• description of the reported matter including specification of time and place of occurrence,
• names of persons who may have witnessed the matter or may possess additional information related to the Report (any of the named persons may be contacted during the investigation stage),
• any other information and evidence that may be of use in the investigation of their Report.
Personal data clearly irrelevant to the processing of a particular Report is not collected.
No information related to wrongdoings that contains trade secrets and/or other confidential information may be used or disclosed beyond the scope of what is necessary for the proper realisation of any subsequent steps.
4. Record keeping
Competent Persons keep records of every received Report in compliance with the above specified requirements of personal data protection. For record keeping, an application is used to receive and manage notifications.
If a Report is filed by telephone, the Competent Person documents the call by means of a transcript. Competent Persons must offer to the Reporting Person the option of reviewing, correcting and approving the transcript.
If a Report is filed during a meeting in person with the Reporting Person, the Competent Person records the Report by means of a written record of the interview. Information regarding received Reports must be retained for at least five years from the date of receipt. After expiration of this period, information regarding received Reports will be retained only if necessary and reasonable for purposes of ensuring compliance with applicable legal regulations and purposes of protecting the rights and legitimate interests of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s..
5. Filing and accepting reports
PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. reporting channels allow reports to be submitted in writing via the Internet application -Ethics Line portal: https://ethicshotline.eu/cs/home/?client=28712226 e-mail, post or orally by telephone or in person.
Reports may be made by persons who have become aware of an infringement in connection with their work or other similar activity for PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s..
These persons include:
• PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. employees (including former employees) and PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. job seekers
• employees temporarily assigned to work in PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. (so-called agency workers)
• volunteers or trainees working in PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.
• self-employed persons acting as suppliers or bidding for a contract from PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.
• employees or other persons working under the supervision of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. suppliers
• shareholders or board members of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.
Persons whose legal relationship with PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. is yet to begin are subject to those procedures only to the extent that the information reported was obtained as part of a pre-contractual meeting, e.g. during the recruitment and selection of staff.
The Competent persons shall ensure that the incoming Report is registered and assigned a unique case number (ID).
If the Report concerns an imminent threat to health and safety or other circumstances that require immediate action or action, the Competent person shall inform the management of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. without undue delay.
The Competent Persons shall ensure that the Reporting Person receives written acknowledgement of receipt of the Report no later than 7 days after receipt of the Report.
6. Initial processing
The main purpose of the initial processing is to:
• Determine whether the information relayed demands an immediate response.
• Determine whether the reported facts fall within the legal framework of whistleblower protection or enjoy the same level of protection given by PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s..
• Identify the persons to participate in further processing of the Report, including an assessment of legal requirements applicable to such participation and rules governing conflict of interest.
• Determine subsequent steps in further processing of the Report.
• Assess the risks of retaliatory measures targeting the Reporting Person and propose suitable measures to mitigate any such risks.
• Ensure the necessary control and supervision of management and the Competent Persons and discuss the above mentioned facts in order to ensure proper evaluation of the Report.
Below is a list of categories of Reports accepted by PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. using its internal reporting system and granted protection in compliance with whistleblower protection legislation. The categories include breaches of EU law, suspected misdemeanours and offences and other categories of Reports to which PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. grants the same level of protection.
Categories of violations of EU law that are treated in compliance with whistleblower protection legislation are as follows:
• Public procurement.
• Financial services, products and markets, and prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism.
• Product safety and compliance.
• Transport safety.
• Environmental protection.
• Radiation protection and nuclear safety.
• Food and feed safety, animal health and welfare.
• Public health.
• Consumer protection.
• Protection of privacy and personal data, and security of network and information systems.
• Breaches affecting the financial interests of the Union as referred to in Article 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and as further specified in relevant Union measures.
• Breaches relating to the internal market, as referred to in Article 26, paragraph 2, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, including breaches of Union competition and State Aid rules, as well as breaches relating to the internal market in relation to acts which breach the rules of corporate tax or to arrangements the purpose of which is to obtain a tax advantage that defeats the object or purpose of the applicable corporate tax law
Reports will also be treated in accordance with whistleblower protection legislation if the information contained in such Reports indicates that a:
• misdemeanour, or
• criminal offence
may have been committed.
Above and beyond its statutory duties, PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. also grants the same level of protection to all persons who report wrongdoings falling into any of the following categories that are not breaches of EU law as specified above, or occur at an intensity that does not qualify them as misdemeanours or criminal offences:
• Bullying, harassment, discrimination of substance abuse.
• Non-compliance with other legal obligations.
• Breaches of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. principles and/or internal procedures.
• Attempts to suppress or conceal information regarding any of the above.
In cases where the reported facts fall clearly outside the categories described above, PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. is not required to process such Reports in compliance with whistleblower protection legislation. In these cases, the Competent Persons submit the Report to the appropriate body or suggest the reporting person address a different authority with their report. If a Competent Person determines that a case is not to be processed in compliance with whistleblower protection legislation, the relevant Reporting Person should be notified, where practicable, of the reasoning behind the decision.
The chart below describes the assessment process designed to determine whether a Report is to be treated in compliance with whistleblower protection legislation (or granted the same level of protection).
The Competent Persons notify contact person about all received Reports and their assessments and if necessary then also the management of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s..
The Competent persons shall keep records in the web application concerning the assessment of Reports received, including the conclusions of this assessment and proposed recommendations to eliminate deficiencies or mitigate the identified risks.
7. Protection of Reporting Persons
Reports must be processed in a way that contributes to the protection of Reporting Persons. Trust in a functioning system of whistleblower protection is conducive to Reporting Persons sharing information with PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. about undesirable activities and so contributes to improved corporate risk management. The protection of Reporting Persons is achieved with the assistance of various measures, including:
• Availability of alternative reporting options.
• Acceptance of anonymous reports.
• Transparent procedures for acceptance, administration and investigation of Reports.
• Measures ensuring compliance with demands placed on Competent Persons, including impartiality, objectivity and integrity.
• Measures ensuring information security and protection of personal data.
• Measures related to protection from retaliation against Reporting Persons and other persons who may be subject to retaliation.
Reporting Persons are entitled to protection in accordance with whistleblower protection legislation provided that they:
• had reasonable grounds to believe that information about the reported wrongdoings was correct at the time of reporting and that the information falls within the scope of whistleblower protection legislation or the scope of protection granted by PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. (see above),
• had filed their Report in accordance with whistleblower protection legislation.
The same protection is available to persons who report wrongdoings anonymously and are subsequently identified, provided they meet the conditions specified above.
Any form of retaliation against a Reporting Person, a person close to a Reporting Person, their colleague or persons who may have assisted ascertaining information related to a Report, is prohibited as is the threatening of, or attempts at, retaliation. This applies, but is not limited to, the following forms of retaliation:
• Termination of employment or allowing a definite-term employment to lapse.
• Demotion from a management position or withholding promotion.
• Transfer of duties, change of location of work, reduction of salary or other remuneration, or change in working hours.
• Hindering of professional development including withholding of training.
• Unfavourable performance assessment or review.
• Imposition or administering of any discipline, reprimand or other penalty including a financial penalty.
• Coercion, intimidation, harassment or ostracising.
• Discrimination, disadvantageous or unfair treatment.
• Demanding of a medical review.
• Infringement of personality rights, e.g. damage to reputation, especially in social media.
• Termination or withdrawal from a contract regarding e.g. the purchase of goods or the provision of a service.
8. Protection of persons affected by a Report
Persons affected by the investigation of a Report are entitled to fair treatment during the course of the investigation. This includes the unbiased and objective assessment of relevant facts, prohibition of discrimination and the protection of personal data as stipulated by applicable legal regulations.
9. Evaluation of Reports
The initial steps taken upon the receipt of a Report include in particular the following:
• Identification of the Report’s subject-matter (classification).
• Assessment of the nature and gravity of the Report.
• Proposal of steps that may lead to clarification of the reported matter.
• Evaluation of whether the Report is justified and requires the implementation of specific measures.
Reports are evaluated and investigated by Competent Persons. The chart below describes the main steps of Report evaluation.
The processing of a case may include an investigation necessary to clarify information in the Report and to ascertain the impacts of established facts. It may be beneficial for such an investigation to acquire relevant documentation and/or conduct interviews.
The Competent Persons may use the available system of confidential communication with the Reporting Person to obtain additional information as necessary. The Competent Persons may also request a meeting with the Reporting Person as an opportunity for the latter to explain their suspicions in detail and provide any available evidence. The Reporting Person is not obliged to agree to such a meeting.
The Competent Person team shall consist of:
• Supervisor overseeing the Report assessment process
• The manager responsible for receiving Reports, communicating with the whistleblower and conducting any subsequent investigation
• Where applicable, other relevant persons involved in each investigation operation
Steps leading to the acquisition of available evidence may include the following:
• Acquisition and review of relevant documentation.
• Review of e-mail communication and other information available to employees.
• Acquisition of data from external sources.
The Competent Person must assess the justification of a Report and notify the Reporting Person, where possible, of the outcome of such assessment within 30 (thirty) days from the receipt of the Report. This period may be extended in complicated cases by up to 30 (thirty) days, no more than twice. The Competent Person must notify, where possible, the Reporting Person in writing of any extension of the period, prior to the expiry of the previous period.
10. Reporting and conclusion of assessment
The report on the assessment of the notification is processed by the Competent Persons in writing within the web application. Such a written account usually contains a summary of key points of the Report’s subject-matter, the description of the matter as ascertained by the Report assessment, and conclusions of the Report assessment. Where suitable, the written account also includes proposed recommendations for the rectification of any identified shortcomings and/or the mitigation of any identified risks. The account must not contain the Reporting Person’s personal data unless approved by the Reporting Person.
The written account is submitted to the contact person and if necessary then also to the management of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s..
Decisions regarding the implementation of any measures recommended is the responsibility of the PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. management.
Contact person or the management of PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. may also decide on:
• Closure of a case.
• Returning of a case to the Competent Person for additional investigation.
• Requesting of measures and/or other steps from persons within PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s.
• Submission of information to relevant public authorities.
11. Provision of feedback to Reporting Persons
Feedback regarding the conclusion of an assessment of a Report should be provided to the Reporting Person within 30 days from receipt of the Report. In complex cases, this period may be extended by up to 30 days, but not more than twice.
Within the period specified, the Competent Persons must inform the Reporting Person as to whether their Report was assessed as justified or unjustified. Feedback must not contain any specific information regarding the course of the investigation.
Information must be provided to the Reporting Person in a manner that precludes retaliation against them. Information is usually shared using the web Tool.
12. Obligations of employees
PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. employees have a duty to cooperate with the Competent Persons investigating Reports. Employees contacted by a Reporting Person shall ask the Reporting Person to file their Report using the Ethics Line portal, which can be found under the following link: https://ethicshotline.eu/cs/home/?client=28712226.
If an employee receives a Report, e.g. by e-mail or post, they must submit it to a Competent Person. Where hard-copy documents are submitted, the employee must hand over all copies of such documents. Where documents are submitted in digital form, the employee must securely delete copies of such documents in their possession after the submission of such documents to the Competent Person.
Contact information of Competent Persons is available from the Ethics Line portal at the link specified above.
PRECIOSA ORNELA, a.s. employees must maintain confidentiality of all information learned in connection with the receipt and investigation of any Report. They must especially protect the identity of Reporting Persons. This duty remains in force after termination of the employment relationship. The duty of confidentiality does not apply to providing information to Competent Persons or third parties where required by law.