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Reporting offices for whistleblowers - there is a lot of catching up to do in Switzerland

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A study shows: It is worthwhile for companies to take whistleblowers seriously. But there are still too few reporting points.

Whistleblowers are in a difficult position in Switzerland: they are not legally protected. In-house reporting points to which whistleblowers can turn anonymously are all the more important. This is shown by an international whistleblowing report.

According to the report, 40 percent of the companies surveyed were affected by grievances in the past year. These incidents were often reported to the internal reporting office.

"With the head through the wall"

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In 2014, Alexander Marx informed the public about the machinations of his employer at the time, thus exposing the Grisons meat scandal. Carna Grischa had falsified expiry dates, declared horse meat as beef, foreign meat as Swiss meat. That took courage: Marx lost his job and came under pressure.

But that doesn't make him feel like a hero. “I hope that people will see me positively and that my story will make a difference. It took a lot of strength and energy. I would be happy if the others acknowledge that. " He had turned to the public after an initial report to the authorities had failed. «I wanted to get ahead of Carna Grischa. I was afraid that the whole story would be swept under the rug. " He then consulted with a lawyer.

“He warned me not to do it. Of course I thought it over carefully. But in the end it was an emotional decision - just hit the wall with your head. " The fact that he acted against the recommendations of others had to do with his anger. «And maybe with an inner voice that said that one should and must act against injustice. It doesn't matter if I'm scared or not. That voice was stronger. "

The company no longer exists since 2015. 27 jobs were lost. He had been reproached for this. “But I think everyone is responsible for what they do. Everyone has to look for themselves. "

It is worthwhile for companies to have such an internal reporting office, says Moritz Homann from EQS: "It is definitely a good instrument, precisely because you can see that it contributes to the continued existence of companies and organizations in the long term."

Switzerland already has a relatively large number of registration offices

Homann's company from Munich, together with Chur University, asked 1,400 companies in four countries how they deal with whistleblowers.

In an international comparison with Germany, France and Great Britain, the Swiss companies are in a good position: "The results show that 65 percent of the companies examined in the study have already set up internal reporting offices." This would put Switzerland and Great Britain ahead of France and Germany. "There it is only 55 percent."

Small companies are less likely to have reporting points

Smaller companies with 20 or more employees and large companies with at least 250 employees were examined. According to Homann, large companies are better off than smaller ones: "In general, when reporting points are widespread, one can see that the internal reporting point is almost standard in large companies, while it is not as widespread in smaller companies."

Whistleblowers often take considerable personal risk when they report a grievance in their company. Often they are punished or even dismissed afterwards. The study therefore recommends that whistleblowers should be able to submit their reports anonymously.

Switzerland does not yet have a law on protection

They should also be better protected legally, says Homann: “In Switzerland, it currently does not look as if a protection law for whistleblowers will be passed in the near future. There is still some catching up to do. The security for whistleblowers in Switzerland is very low. "

The study also shows that the reporting offices only receive very few reports to denigrate someone. According to the study, the fact that they are rarely abused is another argument in favor of such reporting offices.

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  • Comment from Denise Casagrande (begulide)
    The question is: why are helpful personnel deficiencies / nepotism / corruption, etc., who reveal "whistleblowers", still not protected by the state?
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Hanspeter Müller (HPMüller)
    The reason that Switzerland has so far practically no protection for whistleblowers is the political majorities in the councils, which would have to draw up relevant legislation. The company owners in the SVP and FDP, and in some cases also the CVP, have no interest in expanding the protection of their employees. On the website of the SVP there is even written about "denunciation". It is up to us to vote for more employee protection in the elections in autumn.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from W. Pip (W. Pip)
    internal company registration offices are a joke. I would never use that with us. The best thing such bodies know how to do is to convey statements to your superiors in such a way that it is clear who raised the finger. Then you're through. Even if the opposite is always said and talked about anonymity. No, if the "normal" informative path via a superior does not work, an official reporting point with appropriate legal protection must be found.
    Agree agree to the comment

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