Whistleblowing feature

WHISTLEBLOWING FEATURE

JOAB has a whistleblowing feature in Trust & Heart. This is in addition to existing channels for reporting misconduct and irregularities.

In December 2021, a new law - the Whistleblower Act (SFS 2021:890) - entered into force. The law is a tightening of previous legislation in this area. The purpose of the Act is to facilitate and encourage whistleblowing and to strengthen the protection for whistleblowers.

WHAT IS WHISTLEBLOWING?

Whistleblowing occurs when employees in a work-related context blow the whistle on various types of misconduct in their employer's operations. This can be illegal, unethical or inappropriate cases.
Cases reported (whistleblowing) by the employee must be in the public interest. This means that there must be a greater interest than the employee's own, i.e. the public interest.

Definition of misconduct

Misconduct means any serious circumstance that may have a negative impact on the company and/or its operations or the working environment of the company's employees or any other serious work-related circumstance that may be in the public interest to disclose.

Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, actual or suspected:

  • violations of laws and regulations (whether civil or criminal);
  • violations of the company's policies, instructions and guidelines;
  • bribery and corruption;
  • serious risk to the life or health of individuals (such as, for example, environmental crime or major safety deficiencies in a workplace);
  • serious health and safety deficiencies (such as systematic bullying, discrimination or harassment); and
  • other conduct that is inconsistent with the Company's core values.

Issues that exclusively affect the relationship between an individual and the company do not generally fall within the definition of misconduct. The company encourages such issues to be raised by individuals with their immediate manager or the Human Resources Department, as appropriate.

Security for whistleblowers

The regulations prohibit employers from penalising the whistleblower in any way. Examples of such reprisals include: bullying, threats, dismissal, redundancy, reassignment, loss of pay rise, spreading of rumours and other attempts to harm and/or influence the whistleblower. The employer may be liable for damages if such actions are taken as a result of the whistleblowing.

Who can be a whistleblower?

The following categories of people are encouraged to report misconduct:

  • employees (including part-time or fixed-term employees);
  • hired personnel (such as consultants or other independent contractors);
  • people doing internships in the company;

The whistleblower system may also be used by persons who have not yet entered into an employment relationship with the company, provided that the information about misconduct has been acquired during the recruitment process or through other contract negotiations, as well as persons who belonged to one of the above categories of persons and have learned or acquired information about misconduct during their time in the business.

When you report misconduct, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the information about the misconduct is true at the time of the report. However, you are not required to present any evidence or similar. As long as you act in good faith, you will not face any negative consequences, even if the suspicion of misconduct turns out to be false after further investigation.

A whistleblowing system must not be used for reporting personal misconduct that only affects the reporting person and his/her work situation. Such misconduct is dealt with internally and is not compatible with the public interest requirement.

Examples of when the system should not be used are:

  • conflicts between the reporter and another employee
  • views on leadership
  • dissatisfaction with wage setting

Although these conflicts and expressions of dissatisfaction are important to manage, in most cases they are not of public interest and should be dealt with internally within the respective operation.

General complaints or comments about JOAB

General complaints or comments about JOAB and its operations should be made to the immediate manager or directly to the HR Manager via e-mail, pernilla.nilsson@joab.se, telephone 031-7050737

HOW TO WHISTLEBLOW

JOAB is keen to ensure that misconduct or violations that occur in the organisation and that may harm the business or its employees are brought to its attention and investigated as early as possible. We have chosen to have all complaints received and investigated by an external party, Human & heart HR AB and their whistleblowing service "Trust & heart", to ensure legal certainty. The whistleblowing feature is used to report any kind of misconduct or violation of public interest.

After Human & heart has made an initial assessment of the case, authorised persons within the company, primarily the HR manager, may also receive the information provided in order to assess whether further investigation is needed.

A report using the whistleblower feature can be made anonymously. You can make a report in the following ways:

  • Digital report via Trust & heart: To make a report Link to digital report
  • Report via telephone: 08-82 40 00, open  8 am - 4 pm
  • Report by letter: Human & heart, Pelle Bergs backe 3c, SE-791 50 Falun

You can also meet a Human&heart investigator to make the report.
Please read the information on when and how to make a report before doing so.

Things to consider before making a report

You are protected from reprisals under applicable law if you report a situation where you have reasonable grounds to believe that information about misconduct is true.
You have the legal right to remain anonymous, both in relation to the person receiving your whistleblower report and to your employer. At the same time, we would like you to be open about who you are so that we can investigate what has happened in the best possible way.

After submitting your report

Once you have submitted your report, a case number is created and an officer is assigned to your case.

  1. An internal conflict of interest check is carried out to ensure that no officer has a conflict of interest with what has been reported.
  2. You will receive an ID and password so that you can follow the status of the case.
  3. You will receive a follow-up on the status of the case within seven working days. You can opt out of receiving follow-ups in the case description, for example.
  4. The case officer may want to contact you. You can have contact without revealing your identity.

If you have chosen to receive follow-ups on the case, you can log in with the details you received when you reported a case of misconduct. You can then remain anonymous to the case officer if you wish.

If you have chosen to provide contact details, the officer may contact you with any questions they may have.

MEASURES AND CONSEQUENCES OF MAKING A REPORT

If there is reason to believe that misconduct or another serious violation has occurred, a decision is taken to investigate. The investigation involves internal or external investigators looking into the report. Human & heart investigators make a recommendation on further handling to the HR manager.  The HR manager then makes an assessment of whether the case should be investigated internally or externally.

Regardless of the type of investigation, the person who reported the misconduct is protected by confidentiality, as well as against reprisal and obstruction.

If your report is intentionally false

If you report situations that you know did not happen or if you provide obviously misleading information, you are not protected by law. You must also not be guilty of a crime when reporting a situation. Clearly false or misleading reports may be investigated.

OTHER WAYS TO WHISTLEBLOW

External channels

As an alternative to using the internal reporting procedure, you can also report misconduct directly to specially selected Swedish authorities (external reporting) without risk of reprisals. The authority to which you should report depends on the nature of the misconduct you are reporting. The report must be made using established reporting channels designed for reporting misconduct to the relevant authority.

Freedom to provide information

If you do not fall within the scope of persons who can report misconduct and receive protection under the Whistleblower Act, you are still subject to the provisions of our constitution, the Freedom of the Press Act (1949:105) and the Freedom of Expression Act (1991:1469).

Everyone is free to exercise their rights under these laws regardless of whether or not they have chosen to make use of the Whistleblower Act's provisions.

The protection afforded to a person who reports misconduct under any of our constitutions is collectively known as the Whistleblower protection. Whistleblowing protection consists of the following elements:

  • Freedom to provide information
  • Freedom to acquire information
  • The right to anonymity

These three rights are accompanied by provisions on the corresponding protection of these rights:

  • Confidentiality (source protection)
  • Prohibition of investigation
  • Prohibition of reprisals

The freedom to provide information means that anyone is free to provide information on any subject for publication in a medium protected by the Constitution, subject only to the exceptions provided for in the Freedom of the Press Act or the Basic Law on Freedom of Expression. However, the information must be intended for publication in a medium protected by the Constitution and must be communicated to a recipient specified in the Freedom of the Press Act or the Basic Law on Freedom of Expression.

The freedom to acquire information means that anyone has the right, subject to the Freedom of the Press Act or the Basic Law on Freedom of Expression, to acquire information and intelligence on any subject in order to publish it in a medium protected by the Constitution or to make a communication under the provisions on freedom of communication.

Anyone who provides information for publication has the right to remain anonymous, and those who take part in the preparation, publication or dissemination of a statement that has been or is intended to be published in a medium protected by the Freedom of the Press Act or the Basic Law on Freedom of Expression are bound by professional secrecy regarding the identity of the aforementioned persons.

The prohibition of investigation means that authorities and other public bodies may not search for the anonymous author or creator or who published or intended to publish a work in printed form, who provided information for publication or who provided the work for publication.

The prohibition of reprisals means that public authorities and public officials are not entitled to take any action against an individual because of his or her use of the freedom of providing information.

How we process your personal data

All processing of personal data in the context of the company's whistleblowing system is carried out in accordance with applicable legislation. Processed personal data is normally deleted within two years after the conclusion of an investigation into reported misconduct.

When assessing and investigating whistleblowing complaints, our partner Human & heart processes personal data in its capacity as data controller. You can read their privacy policy here.