Whistleblower protection – Guideline
1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE
Kokinetics has a good reputation for its professional work and integrity with employees, customers, suppliers, service providers and regulators. However, Kokinetics, like all other companies, is not exempt from the risk of wrongdoing or misconduct. Kokinetics is committed to prevent such misconduct, especially fraud, corruption, and abuse of power. Kokinetics encourages all employees, its customers, suppliers, service providers, authorities, and other stakeholders to report incidents that are not in accordance with Kokinetics’ Code of Conduct, especially any perceived misconduct. This Whistleblowing Policy has been issued to provide guidance for this purpose.
These rules apply to everyone who works at Kokinetics, regardless of their contractual relationship. They are all grouped together within this document under the term employees. This also applies to business partners, suppliers, service providers, other stakeholders, local authorities, or the general public.
“Misconduct” within the scope of these guidelines may include, but is not limited to, the elements listed in the following: Fraud, corruption, criminal acts, concealment of conflicts of interest or abuse of power – including sexual exploitation.
3. PROCEDURE FOR REPORTING SUSPECTED CASES
For employees of Kokinetics: If you are convinced that the actions of one or more employees indicate misconduct, you should report these concerns to your supervisor. If you have a legitimate reason to feel uncomfortable about raising this with your supervisor or fear negative consequences for yourself, such as reprisals, unfair treatment, or dismissal from work, you can also contact your superior manager or the works Council.
For employees of customers, suppliers, service providers, authorities, and other stakeholders: You should report your concerns to the supervisors of Kokinetics, for example to the responsible contact persons.
In exceptional circumstances where it would not be appropriate to report the matter to the responsible person or the supervisor, you can discuss the matter with the appointed ombudsperson (complaints office). Complaints addressed to the ombudsperson (complaints office) can be written by email in German or English language.
Please include in your complaint all details concerned to the case and any available evidence. Also mention whether you wish your identity to remain confidential. When making a complaint to the Ombudsperson, please also state the reason why you do not want the relevant head of department or Kokinetics’ management to deal with the matter.
Kokinetics does not foster anonymous reporting and can only take further action if complaints include the contact details of the complainant.
You can find the name of Kokinetics’ current ombudsperson (complaints office) and their contact details on the homepage http://www.kokinetics.de and at the end of this document. The ombudsperson will process the information confidentially.
4. DEALING WITH INFORMATION
All cases of disclosure will be taken seriously and dealt with according to the following procedure:
- In the event that supervisors become aware of incidents and the matter relates to his/her area of responsibility, the supervisor is required to acknowledge the received complaint, to assess the matter and investigate further, to provide the complainant with the necessary protection, and take appropriate actions to bring the reported misconduct to an end. If the manager considers that the matter is outside of his/her area of responsibility, he/she must forward the matter to the head of department or, where appropriate, to the ombudsperson (complaints office) to deal with it.
- If the whistleblower has personal interests in the matter raised, they must disclose
this from the beginning.
- Any report made under this policy will be confirmed in writing to reinforce that
Kokinetics will investigate the matter further and respond to your complaint at a given time.
- The ombudsperson (complaints office) will deal with the matter and investigate each
reported complaint independently, objectively, and confidentially.
- An initial assessment, clarification or investigation of the reported matter should take place within two weeks of its discovery. The length and scope of the assessment and investigation will depend on the subject matter of the incident. In most cases, an initial assessment will be made to determine whether a more detailed investigation is necessary or whether the reported incident is based on misinformation, for example.
- Any investigation will take place regardless of the relationship a person has with Kokinetics, their position or length of service or involvement.
- Further information could be requested from the whistleblower during the initial assessment of the matter or during the investigation.
- If an investigation is initiated by the ombudsperson (complaints office), the ombudsperson is also responsible for reviewing the investigation report.
- Following an investigation, actions will be taken – this could include disciplinary proceedings or disclosure of information to external authorities if a crime has been committed.
- Whistleblowers will receive a written notification of the outcome of the assessment and investigation.
5. PROTECTION FOR HISTLEBLOWERS
Whistleblowers are protected against their disclosures leading to disadvantages regardless of the level (supervisor or ombudsperson/complaints office) at which the complaint was made. Employees who raise serious concerns in good faith and use the described procedure will neither be dismissed, nor will they have to fear unjustified disciplinary action or unfair treatment as a result of the reported complaint, even if the concerns turn out to be unfounded.
If whistleblowers believe that they may suffer disadvantages in their workplace as a result of their actions, they should immediately inform their supervisor, or, if they do not feel that this is appropriate, their higher supervisor or the HR department. Employees or supervisors who treat someone who has raised a concern under this policy unfairly or in a retaliatory way will be subject to disciplinary action.
This assurance does not apply where a person viciously raises a matter which they know to be false or where they themselves are involved in the matter in any way.
Every effort will be made to keep the identity of the whistleblower confidential. However, it may be in the nature of the information provided or due to the need for further investigation – e.g. in the case of criminal incidents that need to be passed on to the authorities – that the identity of the whistleblower becomes known. In such cases, it will be discussed with the whistleblower in advance, before any further steps will be taken, what impact the case may have on the confidentiality. In order to not jeopardize a possible investigation, the whistleblower is asked to keep in secret the fact that he or she has reported concerns as well as the names of the people involved.
6. FALSE INFORMATION
Kokinetics will treat all reports of misconduct seriously and will protect individuals who make complaints in good faith. However, disciplinary or legal action can be taken against whistleblowers who provide information or advice that they know to be false.
This whistleblower-guideline was issued by the management of Kokinetics GmbH
The contact details of the person currently acting as ombudsperson can be found on our homepages:
The following person has been appointed as Ombudsperson:
Ms. Ulrike Thienes + Works Council member
Please use the e-mail address below for written communications:
 Confirmation must be given within seven days at the latest by the person to whom the complaint was made. For matters that were reported to Kokinetics’
management, the person who raised the matter should be further notified in writing and a copy should be sent to the manager concerned.
 The written notification to a complainant must be submitted by employees or managers of Kokinetics or the ombudsperson (complaints office) within 3
months. The feedback includes notification of planned and already taken follow-up measures as well as the reasons for these. Feedback may only be
provided to the whistleblower to the extent that this does not affect internal research or investigations and does not interfere with the rights of the people
who are the subject of a report or who are named in the report.