- Rules on establishing internal reporting channels;
- Form for filing internal reports;
- Whistleblowers Protection Act.
How to report a breach?
Do you suspect that there has been a breach of regulations at your workplace (National Institute of Chemistry)? If so, you can report the breach to the whistleblower protection officer or to the relevant external reporting authority:
- Slavica Pečovnik (+386 1 4760 340)
- dr. Nana Lavrenčič Marković (+386 1 4760 256)
The whistleblower protection officer will make sure that the breaches in the substantiated reports are corrected and that future breaches will be prevented, without disclosing your identity. In the event of retaliation, you will be protected as provided for by the ZZPri.
Reports of breaches are normally submitted on the Internal reporting form and shall be accepted in writing or verbally by the following methods and at the following addresses:
- via email at: zaupnik(at)ki.si;
- via the telephone number of the whistleblower protection officer;
- at the address of the “National Institute of Chemistry, Hajdrihova 19, 1001 Ljubljana” with the designation “Deliver to the internal reporting officer”;
- in person by the whistleblower protection officer.
The whistleblower protection officer also considers anonymous reports. In this case, you will only get feedback if you specify in your report how you can be contacted by the whistleblower protection officer.
What kind of protection can you expect?
Reporting breaches at the workplace is often accompanied by feelings of discomfort and fear of retaliation. The National Institute of Chemistry is committed to remedying irregularities, and management does not intend to retaliate against the reporting persons/whistleblowers who report irregularities in good faith.
Your report will be received directly by the whistleblower protection officer. The reporting person's details will only be known to the whistleblower protection officer, who will not disclose them to anyone (any attempt to disclose the identity of the reporting person and his/her details is a minor offence punishable by a fine under the Whistleblowers Protection Act). The content of the report will be disclosed, where appropriate, to the individuals involved in remedying the reported irregularities.
Should anyone (e.g. management, colleagues or other persons) establish your identity, this would constitute a breach which you can report to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (the whistleblower protection officer can also help you file the report). The whistleblower protection officer will also advise you on which external institution to contact if the report cannot be dealt with properly within the National Institute of Chemistry (internally).
The whistleblower protection officer will also provide you with a certificate indicating the report being filed, if necessary, or if you need it for other official procedures. The officer will also contact the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption for assistance, where required, in implementing the protection measures.
When are you entitled to protection?
Reporting persons who are natural persons (meaning that legal persons are not eligible for protection) and who have filed a report on a breach at their workplace, due to which they have been subject to retaliation, are eligible for protection measures and measures of support under the Whistleblowers Protection Act.
Protection is granted to reporting persons who filed a report in good faith (they considered the information to be true when they filed the report). Reporting persons who knowingly file a false report are not eligible for protection; such report may also constitute the commission of a minor offence. A report may relate to actual, potential or threatened breach, or to a suspected breach at the workplace.
Protection of reporting persons applies to reported breaches that are still ongoing or that occurred or ceased less than two years ago. It is therefore important to file a report as soon as possible, as this will allow us to investigate and eliminate the breach as soon as possible.
What is the process of handling reports?
Once a report has been received by the whistleblower protection officer, he or she shall carry out a preliminary examination. This means that he or she checks the legal requirements for processing the report, whether the reported breach relates to an entity (report of a breach at the workplace) and whether the reported breach is still ongoing or has ended less than two years ago.
The preliminary examination will be carried out by the whistleblower protection officer within seven days and the reporting person shall be informed thereof. If the whistleblower protection officer accepts the report for consideration, the procedure will continue, failing which the whistleblower protection officer will inform the reporting person that the report will not be considered and will explain the reasons for this. If necessary, the whistleblower protection officer may contact the reporting person to provide additional information that will enable him/her to process the report comprehensively.
During the further processing the whistleblower protection officer assesses who within the organisation can assist in the investigation of the breach and in the implementation of remedial action. The officer informs these persons of the content of the report, but not of the reporting person's details. If, in order to resolve the report, the personal details of the reporting person will need to be disclosed to other persons (e.g. because the breach concerns him/her personally), the whistleblower protection officer will ask for the reporting person’s consent to disclose these personal details. If the procedure cannot proceed without the consent of the reporting person and the reporting person does not consent to the disclosure of personal details, the procedure will be suspended. If necessary, a lawyer or an auditor may join the investigation of the breach and will therefore also be made aware of the content of the report.
The content of the report (excluding the details about the reporting person) will also be communicated to the person to whom the report relates (the perpetrator), who will be able to participate in the procedure and protect his/her interests, if appropriate in the specific case.
The breaches identified in the procedure will be remedied as soon as possible. The whistleblower protection officer will also, where appropriate, report the breach to the competent authorities where it is mandatory to report breaches to external authorities, and report the criminal offence or file a criminal complaint in the event that the breach identified would constitute an offence for which the perpetrator is prosecuted ex officio. In that case, the whistleblower protection officer will only disclose your personal details to the public prosecutor's office upon reasoned request, if this is strictly necessary for the investigation of the criminal offences.
At the end of the procedure, the whistleblower protection officer shall inform the reporting person of the outcome of the procedure and of the measures proposed and implemented. If the procedure is still pending after three months, the whistleblower protection officer will inform the reporting person of the current status/progress of the case at that time. The whistleblower protection officer will also inform management of the outcome of the procedure, without mentioning the personal details of the reporting person in the report.
What to do in case of retaliation?
Retaliation comprises measures that worsen the situation of the reporting person as a result of the filing of the report (even if the person implementing these measures gives a different reason for taking action against the reporting person). These include, for example, formal notice prior to dismissal or termination of employment, disciplinary sanctions, transfer, harassment, unequal treatment, etc.
Retaliation is prohibited and may constitute a minor offence. In the case of retaliation, it is possible to apply for an interim injunction ordering the court to stop the employer from taking retaliatory action. If the labour law measures have already been taken, you can also file a lawsuit with the labour court. In case of termination of employment, the reporting person is also entitled to unemployment benefits regardless of the reason for the dismissal (even if it is for wrongful conduct), if he/she proves, with a certificate from the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, that he/she is entitled to protection under the Act.
In which cases can the whistleblower protection officer disclose the identity of the reporting person?
The whistleblower protection officer may disclose the identity of the reporting person in three instances:
- if the reporting person gives their consent to the disclosure (the whistleblower protection officer will request consent);
- if requested by the public prosecutor, where this is strictly necessary for the investigation of criminal offences (the disclosure of identity to the public prosecutor’s office is notified to the reporting person in advance);
- if a court so requests, where this is necessary for court proceedings, including court proceedings to protect the rights of the person to whom the report relates (the disclosure of identity to the court is notified to the reporting person in advance).
Notwithstanding the above, no one may disclose the identity of the reporting person if the disclosure would endanger life or seriously jeopardise public interest, national safety or defence.
A reporting person who reports or publicly discloses information about breaches pursuant to the Whistleblowers Protection Act shall not be in violation of any restriction or prohibition on disclosure of information and shall not be subject to any liability related to such report or public disclosure, provided that the reporting person did not report or publicly disclose false information, and had good reason to believe that the reporting or public disclosure of such information was necessary to disclose the breach under the Act.
This does not apply to the restrictions on disclosure of information laid down by the regulations governing the protection of classified information, the professional confidentiality of lawyers and healthcare professionals, the secrecy of judicial deliberations and the criminal procedure rules.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the law governing trade secrets, the reporting or public disclosure of information that includes trade secrets is not deemed unlawful if the reporting person reports or publicly discloses such information in accordance with the Whistleblowers Protection Act. The reporting person shall not be liable in respect of any acquisition of or access to information which he or she reports or publicly discloses, provided that such acquisition or access does not constitute an independent criminal offence.
In any proceedings against a reporting person for defamation, copyright infringement, breach of confidentiality of information, breach of data protection rules or claims for damages, the reporting person shall not be liable for any reporting or public disclosure of information under the Whistleblowers Protection Act, and when lodging a motion to contest a claim filed against him/her may refer to the report or public disclosure if he or she had good reason to believe that the reporting or public disclosure of information was necessary to disclose the breach.
External reporting authorities:
- Agency for Communication Networks and Services of the Republic of Slovenia,
- Securities Market Agency,
- Slovenian Competition Protection Agency,
- Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency,
- Insurance Supervision Agency,
- Agency for Public Oversight of Auditing,
- Bank of Slovenia,
- National Review Commission,
- Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia,
- Market Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia,
- Office for Money Laundering Prevention
- Information Commissioner,
- Information Security Inspectorate,
- Radiation and Nuclear Safety Inspection Service,
- Radiation Protection Inspectorate,
- Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection Inspection Division,
- Labour Inspectorate,
- Public Sector Inspectorate,
- Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for the Environment and Spatial Planning,
- Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices of the Republic of Slovenia,
- Supervisory authorities in accordance with the regulations governing the use of European Cohesion Policy funds in the Republic of Slovenia,
- Health Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia,
- Slovenski državni holding, d.d. (Slovenian Sovereign Holding Company), and
- Commission for the Prevention of Corruption.
All reports are treated confidentially in accordance with the Whistleblowers Protection Act, the Personal Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We protect personal data and ensure adequate protection for both the reporting person and the person to whom the report relates.