Zaandam Policy Whistle Blowers

 

Policy: Whistle-Blowers – Hilton Foods Holland

Hilton Foods Holland

In view of the importance that Hilton Foods Holland places on integrity and good conduct, of which the Whistle-blower’s policy is part of and as a result of the decision that the Works Council agreed upon on the 26th  of September 2016;

DECISION

the following regulations have been established;

 Article 1:  Definitions

  1. The following definitions apply to this policy:

    a.  employee: a person who works or worked at HFH with an Employment Contract and who was appointed either through Civil Law or Public Law or a person who works or  worked at HFH without an Employment Contract;

    b. employer:  Hilton Foods Holland, that allows for work to be done according to the Employment Contract through Civil law, or allows for work to be done without an Employment Contract;

    c. suspicion of an offense: when an employee suspects an  offense within the organisation  that he works for or  worked for or within another organisation if his position requires contact with that organisation and there is:

    1. a suspicion,  based on reasonable grounds, resulting from the knowledge that the employee has gained from  his employer or based on the knowledge that the employee has gained through his activities at another company or organisation, and

    2. a concern regarding social interest through:

    i. the breaching, or the threat thereof, of the law, including a criminal offense;

    ii. a danger, or the threat thereof,  to public health;

    iii. a danger, or the threat thereof, to the safety of people;

    iv. a danger, or the threat thereof, to the environment;

    v. a danger, or the threat thereof,  to the general performance of the organisation as a result of the improper manner in which action is taken or neglected;

    vi. the breaching, or the threat thereof, of rules other than is legally required;

    vii. the wasting, or the threat thereof,  of public funding;

    viii. withholding, destroying or manipulating the information mentioned in i to vii, or the threat thereof;

    d. suspicion of an irregularity: a suspicion, based on reasonable grounds, regarding a general, operational or financial deficiency or iniquity that are the responsibility of the organisation and is serious enough to fall outside the scope of the regular working processes and exceeds the responsibility of the executive manager;

    e. advisor: a person who within his function has a duty of confidentiality and is approached by an employee regarding a suspicion of an offense;

    f. confidant: the person appointed to act as the confidant for the organisation;

    g. advice centre for Whistle-blowers: an advice centre set up through the temporary decision of the government –advice commission and referral centre for whistle-blowers (see Staatsblad 2011, 427 and Staatsblad 2015, 202)  https://www.adviespuntklokkenluiders.nl;

    h. advisory department of the Home for Whistle-blowers: the department for advice of the Home as mentioned in Article 3, Paragraph 2, Law: Home for Whistle-blowers;

    i. report: a report of a suspicion of an offense or irregularity based on this regulation;

    j. informant: the employee who reports a suspicion of an offense or irregularity based on this regulation;

    k. executive manager: the body or the person who is responsible for the daily managing of the employer’s organisation, such as the Managing Director at Hilton Meats Zaandam;

    l. internal supervisory body: the body within the organisation that oversees the executive manager,  Mr. Mark Skipwith, email address: mark.skipwith@hiltonfoodgroup.com, Telephone number: +44 845 8444761;

    m. executive body/person responsible: the internal supervisory body responsible or, if the organisation does not have such a body, the Executive Manager will take on the responsibility;

    n. contact person: the person appointed by the executive manager to act as the contact person for the purpose of counteracting the offense; this is done after a report has been made and in agreement with the informant;

    o. investigators: the people who are given  the responsibility from the internal supervisory  body to investigate the offense;

    p. external authority: the organisation that, based on the reasonable opinion of the informant, is eligible to take on the external report regarding the suspicion of an offense; 

    q. external third party: any organisation or representative of an organisation that, based on the reasonable opinion of the informant, is able to solve the offense, either directly or indirectly;

    r. investigation department of the House for Whistle-blowers: refers to the investigation department of the House as mentioned in Article 3, Paragraph 3,  Law House for Whistle-blowers;   

  2. Where this regulation mentions the ‘he’ form, it also implies the ‘she’ form.

Article 2.  Information, advice and support to the employee

  1. An employee is allowed  to consult an advisor in confidence regarding a suspicion of an offense.
     
     
  2. In accordance with Paragraph 1, the employee can request information, advice and support   from the confidant in connection with the suspicion of an offense.

  3. In accordance with Paragraph 1, the employer can request information, advice and support from the advice centre for Whistle-blowers in connection with the suspicion of an offense.

     

Article 3.  Internal report by an employee

  1. An employee who suspects an offense or irregularity within the organisation   of his employer can report this to any manager within the organisation who, according to the   hierarchy, holds a higher position than the informant. Should the employee have a reasonable   suspicion that the manager is involved in the offense or irregularity, then he can report   it to the internal supervisory body.

  2. In this case and according to this regulation,  the executive manager also refers to the internal supervisory body.
     
  3. The employee can also report a suspicion of an offense or irregularity, within the   organisation, to the confidant. The confidant will then, in consultation with the employee,   send the report to the manager or internal supervisory body, as described in Paragraph 2.

Article 4. Internal report by an employee of another organisation

  1. An employee from another organisation who, through his work related activities, comes into   contact with the employer’s organisation and suspects an offense within the employer’s   organisation, can report his suspicion to any manager who, according to the hierarchy within   the organisation, either has the same or a higher position than the employee.   Should the   employee from  the other organisation suspects that the executive manager is involved in the   offense, he can report it to the internal supervisory body. In this case and according to   this regulation,  the executive manager also refers to the internal supervisory body.

  2. The employee from another organisation, as described in Paragraph 1, can also report his   suspicion regarding an offense within the organisation of the employer to the confidant. The   confidant will then, after consultation with the employee, send the report to the manager or   the internal supervisory body as described in Paragraph 1.

 Article 5. Protection of the informant against unfair treatment

  1. The employer will not treat the informant unfairly,  if the informant acted in good faith and properly reported a suspicion of an offense or irregularity to the employer, to another organisation or to an external organisation, as described in Article 14 Paragraph 3, or to an external third party under the circumstances, as described in Article 14 Paragraph 4.

  2.  With unfair treatment, as referred to in Paragraph 1, it includes any unfair measures, such as:

    a. dismissing  the informant, unless requested by the employee personally;

    b. the premature cancellation of a contract or failing to extend  temporary employment;

    c. not converting a temporary employment contract to a permanent employment contract;

    d. taking disciplinary action;

    e. instituting a ban on the investigation, barring the employee from speaking, refusing him entry to the work place and/or getting a restraining order against the employee or his colleagues;

    f. forcing the informant to take on a different  function;

    g. expanding or restricting the tasks of the informant, unless requested by the employee personally;

    h. transferring the informant, unless requested by the employee personally;

    i. refusing a request by the informant to be transferred;

    j. changing the work place of the informant or refusing such a request;

    k. abstaining a raise in salary,  refusing to give an occasional reward or a bonus or granting compensation;

    l. abstaining the possibility for promotion;

    m. not accepting notification of illness, or registering and keeping the employee registered as sick;

    n. refusing an application for leave;

    o. granting leave other than at the request of the employee.

  3. With unfair treatment, as described in Paragraph 1, it also refers to when there are reasonable grounds to address the informant on his performance or where an unfair measure, as described in Paragraph 2, which is not based on reasonable grounds, is taken by the employer against the informant.

  4. Making a malicious  or a false report can be considered, depending on the seriousness of the false report or the motivation of the informant,  as misusing this regulation and lead to consequences for the informant under the Labour Law.

  5. Should the employer take unfair measures against  the informant in the foreseeable future as a result of the report regarding  a suspicion as described in Paragraph 2, the employer has to justify why this measure has been taken and indicate that it does not relate to the report made by the informant in good faith and through the proper means.

  6. The employer will ensure that the informant’s manager and colleagues restrain from any form of unfair treatment related to the report of an offense or irregularity by the informant in good faith and through the proper means, which could prevent the informant from functioning either professionally or personally.   This includes:   

    a. bullying, ignoring or excluding the informant;

    b. making unfounded or disproportionate accusations with respect to the functioning of the informant;

    c. instituting a ban on the investigation, barring the employee from speaking, refusing him entry to the work place and/or getting a restraining order against the informant or his colleagues, formulated in any way;

    d. intimidating the informant by threatening with certain measures or conduct if he decides to continue with the making of his report.

  7. The employer will address those employees guilty of unfair treatment against the informant and will give them a warning that could lead to disciplinary measures taken against them. 

 Article 6:  Counteracting unfair treatment against the informant

  1. The appointed contact person, as described in Article 9 Paragraph 6, will immediately discuss with the informant, the risks involved in the unfair treatment, in which way these risks can be reduced and what the employee can do if he is of the opinion that unfair treatment is present. The contact person will ensure that this is put in writing and will present it to the informant for his approval and signature.  The informant will receive a copy of the written information.

  2. Should the informant be of the opinion that unfair treatment is present, he can discuss it with the contact person immediately.  The contact person and the informant will also discuss the measures necessary to combat the unfair treatment. The contact person will put it in writing and present it to the informant for his approval and signature. The informant will receive a copy of the written information.

  3. The executive manager will ensure that measures are taken in order to counteract the unfair treatment. 

Article 7. Protection against unfair treatment of other parties involved

  1. The employer will not treat the advisor, employed by the employer, unfairly in his capacity as advisor to the informant.

  2. The employer will not treat the confidant unfairly, while performing his duties as stipulated in this regulation.

  3. The employer will not treat the contact person unfairly, while performing his duties as stipulated in this regulation.

  4. The employer will not treat the investigators, who are employed by the employer, unfairly when performing their duties as stipulated in this regulation.

  5. The employer will not treat an employee, who has been interviewed by the Investigators, unfairly if he makes a statement in good faith.

  6. The employer will not treat an employee unfairly, who hands over documents, which he deems necessary and important to the case, to the  investigators .

  7. Article 5, Paragraphs 2 – 6 is also applicable to unfair treatment against people as described in Paragraphs 1 – 6.

Article 8.  Confidentiality in dealing with the report and the identity of the informant

  1. The employer will ensure that the information surrounding the report is stored in such a way that it is, physically and digitally, only available to those who are involved in the handling of the report.

  2. All parties involved in dealing with the report will not disclose the identity of the informant without the unequivocal written permission of the informant and will treat all information regarding the report as confidential.

  3. When there is reasonable suspicion regarding an offense or irregularity and it has been reported to the confidant and the informant has not given permission for his identity to be disclosed, then all correspondence regarding the report which had been sent to the confidant will immediately be returned to the informant.

  4. All parties involved in dealing with the report will not disclose the identity of the advisor without the unequivocal written permission of the informant and the advisor.

Article 9. Recording, forwarding and confirmation of receipt of an internal report

  1. When the employer reports a suspicion of an offense or irregularity orally to the manager or supplies him with a written report, then the manager, after consultation with the informant, will ensure that it is recorded in writing and will submit the written report to the informant for his approval and signature.  The informant will receive a copy of the written report.

  2. If the employee reports a suspicion of an offense or irregularity to the confidant orally or supplies a written report of an oral account, the confidant, after consultation with the informant, will ensure that a written account is made and will give this account to the informant for his approval and signature.  The informant will receive a copy of the written report.

  3. The manager to whom the report was made will send it to the executive manager within the organisation of the employer immediately.

  4. If the informant or the manager suspects that the executive manager is involved in the alleged offense or irregularity, the manager will immediately send the report to the internal supervisory body within the organisation of the employer. In this case the ‘executive manager’ also refers to the ‘internal supervisory body’.

  5. The executive manager will send confirmation of receipt of the report to the informant immediately. The receipt of confirmation will contain, at least,  a concise description of the report, the date on which it was received and a copy of the report.

  6. After receipt of the report the executive manager, in consultation with the informant, will appoint a contact person for the purpose  of counteracting any unfair treatment immediately.

Article 10. Dealing with the internal report by the employer

  1. The executive manager will start an investigation about the reported suspicion of an offense or irregularity, unless:

    a. the suspicion is not based on reasonable grounds, or

    b. it is known beforehand that the report does not concern a suspicion of an offense or irregularity.

  2. If the executive manager decides not to start an investigation, he will inform the informant in writing within two weeks after the internal report was received. This information will contain the reason why the executive manager believes that the suspicion is not based on reasonable grounds, or that it was clear beforehand that the report does not concern a suspicion of an offense or irregularity.

  3. The executive manager will decide whether an external organisation, as described in Article 14 Paragraph 3, should be notified of the suspicion of an offense.  If the employer informs an external organisation, then the executive manager will inform the informant in writing, unless there are serious objections.

  4. The executive manager will pass the investigation on to independent and unbiased investigators. The executive manager will ensure that the investigation  is not done by people who are in any way involved in the suspected offense or irregularity.

  5. The executive manager will immediately inform the informant in writing that an investigation has been started and who is responsible for the investigation.  The executive manager will send the informant a copy of the order for the investigation, unless there are serious objections.

  6. The executive manager will inform the people involved in the suspicion of an offense about the fact that a report was made and that an external organisation, as described in Paragraph 3, has been formed,  unless this information could damage the investigation  in any way.

Article 11.  Implementing the investigation

  1. The investigators will give the informant an opportunity to be heard.  The investigators will ensure that this is reported in writing and will give this report to the informant for his approval and signature.  The informant will receive a copy of this report.

  2. The investigators may also interview other people. The investigators will ensure that theinformation collected during these interviews are reported in writing and will give it to thepeople involved for their approval and signatures.  The people who have been interviewed willreceive a copy of the report.

  3. The investigators will have access to all documentation within the organisation that they deem necessary in order to conduct the investigation.

  4. Employees may hand over all documentation if they consider it necessary for the investigation that is being done by the investigators.

  5. The investigators will draw up an investigative concept report and will allow the informant to comment on it, unless there are serious objections.

  6. The investigators will then draw up the investigative report.  They will send a copy to the informant, unless there are serious objections. 

Article 12. Position of the employer

  1. The executive manager will inform the informant through a written report within eight weeks after the report was made.  This report will contain the content and position with regard to the report made of the suspicion of an offense or irregularity.  The written report will also indicate which steps have been taken regarding the situation.

  2. If it is not possible to give this information regarding the position within the allotted time, the executive manager will inform the informant in writing.  It will indicate the time frame within which the informant will be notified about the position.  If the time frame exceeds twelve weeks, it will indicate why more time is necessary.

  3. After completion of the investigation, the executive  manager will decide whether an external organisation, as described in Article 14 Paragraph 3, has be informed of the situation regarding the internal report of a suspicion of an offense, the investigative report and the position of the employer.  If the employer informs an external organisation, he will send the informant a copy of his decision, unless there are serious objections.

  4. The people to whom the report applies, are informed in the same way as the informant based on Paragraphs 1 – 3,  unless this information could damage the investigation in any way.

Article 13. The principle of -  let the other side be heard – also applies to the investigative report and the position of the employer

  1. The employer will give the informant the possibility to react on the investigative report and the position of the employer.

  2. If the informant, as reaction to the investigative report or the position of the employer,  can give a well-founded reason why he believes that the suspicion of an offense or irregularity has not actually been investigated properly or that there are essential inaccuracies in the  investigative report or the position of the employer, the employer will respond contextually and, if necessary, he will set up a new or supplementary investigation. Articles 10 – 13 also apply to the new or supplementary investigation.

  3. If the employer informs or informed an external organisation, as described in Article 14 Paragraph 3, then he will also send the reaction of the informant on the investigative report and the position of the employer to the external organisation. The informant will receive a copy.  

Article 14. An external report

  1. After the informant has made an internal report regarding a suspicion of an offense, the informant can also make an external report, if:

    a. the informant does not agree with the position of the employer, as described in Article =12, and believes that the suspicion has been put aside unjustly;

    b. the informant did not receive the information regarding the position of the employer within the time frame,  as described in Article 12 Paragraph 1 or Paragraph 2.
  2. The informant can make an external report of a suspicion of an offense directly and within reason,  if he is not expected or asked to make an internal report.  This applies when it stems from a legal regulation or for the following reasons:

    a. immediate, substantial and urgent danger to the social interest, which makes an external report necessary;

    b. a reasonable suspicion that the executive  body responsible within the organisation of the employer is involved in the offense;

    c. a situation where the informant has reasonable fear of counter measures relating to making an internal report; 

    d. a clear and demonstrable threat of embezzlement or destruction of evidence;

    e. a prior report on the same offense and done in compliance to the proper procedure, but the situation was not solved or removed;

    f. a duty to make an external report directly.

  3. The informant can make the external report with an external authority which the informant considers to be the most suitable.  An external authority includes: 

    a. an organisation that deals with the detection of criminal acts;

    b. an organisation that deals with monitoring the realisation of specific regulations or  acting according to the law;

    c. another competent organisation where a suspicion of an offense can be reported, including the investigation department  of the House for Whistle-Blowers.

  4. If, after reasonable consideration, the informant believes that the social interest weighs heavier than the interest of the employer regarding secrecy, the informant can make an external report to an external third party that, according to him, is capable of stopping, either directly or indirectly, the suspicious offense.

Article 15.  Internal and external investigation of unfair treatment against the informant

  1. If the informant believes that he is being treated unfairly because he reported  a suspicion  of an offense, he can request that the executive manager investigates the way in which he is being treated within the organisation.

  2. Articles 10 to 13 also apply to this situation.

  3. Paragraphs 1 and 2 also apply to the people referred to in Article 7 Paragraphs 1 to 6.

  4. The informant can also request the investigation department of the House of Whistle-Blowers to investigate the way in which the employer is acting towards him as a result of the report of a suspicion of an offense. 

Article 16.  Publication, assessment and evaluation

  1. The executive manager will ensure that this regulation is published internally,  is incorporated into the company regulations and made public by placing it on the employer’s website.

  2. The executive manager will draw up an annual assessment regarding the policy on how to deal with the suspicion of an offense or irregularity and how to execute this regulation. The assessment will contain the following: 

    a. information about how the report of a suspicion of an offense or irregularity had been dealt with in the past year and how it will be dealt with in the next year;

    b. information about the number of reports and an indication of the nature of the reports, the results of the investigations and the position of the employer;

    c. general information about the experiences regarding the prevention of unfairtreatment against the informant;

    d. information about the number of requests that were made to investigate any form of unfair treatment of the informant in connection with making a report on a suspicion of an offense and an indication of the results of the investigation and the position of the employer.

  3. The executive manager will draw up the concept of the assessment described in Paragraph 2 for the Works Council, after which it will be discussed with the Works Council in a consultation meeting.  

  4. The executive manager will provide the Works Council with the opportunity to express its views regarding the policy of conduct when a report about a suspicion of an offense and irregularity is made, the execution of this regulation and the assessment. The executive manager will ensure that the position of the Works Council is taken up in the assessment and will submit this assessment to the Works Council for approval.

Article 17.   Commencement of this regulation and withdrawal of the current regulation

  1. This regulation came into effect on the 1st  of July 2016.

  2. This regulation is quoted as the regulation for the conduct regarding making a report of a suspicion of an offense or irregularity at Hilton Meats Zaandam, or, in short, the regulation regarding the report of a suspicion of an offense or irregularity at Hilton Meats Zaandam.

  3. The regulation “Hilton Food Group Ltd (Group) Policy Whistle-Blowers” is hereby revoked.

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