Process description / guideline for processing incoming complaints; procedural rules for the complaints procedure in accordance with s. 8 LkSG


The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) attaches great importance to compliance with the law and internal company guidelines. A compliance management system (CMS) has been set up to detect violations as early as possible, which also covers compliance with the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz, LkSG).

The LkSG lays down corporate due diligence obligations to avoid human rights violations and environmental risks in supply chains and requires, among other things, the establishment of a complaints procedure in this regard. The function or task of the complaints office within the meaning of s. 8 LkSG is performed by a lawyer who is also responsible for setting up and operating an internal reporting office within the meaning of s. 14 (1) of the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG).

The aim of the DZNE is to implement the requirements of the LkSG and to fairly and appropriately investigate reports and complaints regarding human rights and environmental risks as well as violations of human rights and environmental obligations in the DZNE supply chain. The DZNE has established a central complaints procedure in order to recognise violations of obligations under the LkSG at an early stage and to initiate appropriate measures.

These procedural rules for the DZNE's complaints procedure under the LkSG are based on the “Guidance on the complaints procedure under the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act", published by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA).

A. Who is responsible for receiving complaints and information in the DZNE supply chain?

Mr Stephan Rheinwald, lawyer, holds the position of complaints office within the meaning of s. 8 LkSG and handles complaints and information using the contact details provided.

B. Details of the complaints procedure

I. Who can submit a notice or complaint?

These rules of procedure are aimed at employees of the DZNE, employees of direct suppliers of the DZNE, customers and contractual partners of the DZNE and other third parties (whistleblowers).

II. Which complaints and reports are processed?

The LkSG complaints procedure can be used to report human rights and environmental risks as well as violations of human rights or environmental due diligence obligations within the meaning of the LkSG that exist in the business area of the DZNE or a direct supplier.

III. Which reporting channels can be used to report information or submit complaints?

Whistleblowers have the opportunity to submit complaints and notifications to the DZNE Complaints Office using the contact details below.

Compliance Officer Services Lega
Lawyer Stephan Rheinwald

Telemannstraße 22
53173 Bonn
+49 228 - 35036291
+49 171 - 7722906

Whistleblowers do not incur any costs or fees for submitting complaints or information. All information will be treated confidentially.

IV. What happens after a complaint is submitted?

1. General principle

Complaints are processed and investigated fairly, objectively and with due regard for the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower.

The applicable provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, BDSG), as amended, are complied with.

The persons entrusted by the DZNE with the implementation of the procedure act impartially. They are independent in the fulfilment of their task, are not bound by instructions and are obliged to maintain confidentiality

2. Acknowledgement of receipt

The receipt of a complaint and a notification is documented by the Complaints Office and confirmed to the complainant within seven days at the latest (written confirmation of receipt).

As part of the acknowledgement of receipt, the whistleblower will also be informed of the next steps, the timeline of the procedure and their rights with regard to protection against discrimination or penalisation due to the procedure or the use of other formal complaints procedures

In the case of an anonymous complaint without providing contact details, no acknowledgement of receipt will be sent

3. examination of the complaint

The complaints office carries out a validity check, i.e. it checks whether the incoming information - assuming it is correct - would actually constitute a violation of human rights and environmental due diligence obligations in accordance with the LkSG. To this end, enquiries are made of the whistleblower, if possible, and an initial investigation is carried out with the involvement of the DZNE.

If there is no conclusive evidence, the whistleblower will receive a justification for the negative finding

4. Suggestion on how to proceed

If the report is valid, the complaints office makes a proposal to the DZNE on how to proceed.

The whistleblower will also be involved in the development of the proposal, if required by the facts of the case.

Legal requirements, in particular those of the GDPR, BDSG and the question of data subject information, are examined and taken into account as part of the proposal

5. Investigation

The facts of the case will be investigated by the DZNE Complaints Office, an auditing firm or another third party commissioned by the DZNE. In order to gain a better understanding of the facts of the case, the facts of the case will be discussed with the person making the allegation, insofar as this is useful and necessary for further clarification of the facts.

If necessary, an investigation report will be drawn up, which should contain not only the findings but also the measures to be taken.

The proposal for remedial action is developed in dialogue with the whistleblower

6. Examination result

A decision is made by the DZNE on the findings of the investigation and the measures to be taken.

If the DZNE determines that a violation of a human rights-related or environmental obligation has already occurred or is imminent in its own business area in Germany, the DZNE will immediately take appropriate remedial measures to end the violation. If violations of human rights or environmental obligations are confirmed at a supplier, appropriate follow-up measures will be taken on a case-by-case basis.

If requested, the result achieved will be evaluated together with the whistleblower.

The implementation of the agreed measures is monitored by a person appointed by the DZNE

The effectiveness of the corrective measures is reviewed at least once a year and on an ad hoc basis.

7. Feedback to the whistleblower

The Complaints Office will provide feedback to the whistleblower within three months of confirming receipt of the notification/complaint. The feedback includes information of planned and already taken follow-up/remedial measures as well as the reasons for these (unless the whistleblower has already been involved in the development of measures).

However, feedback to whistleblowers will only be provided to the extent that this does not affect internal enquiries or investigations and does not prejudice the rights of the persons who are the subject of a report or who are named in the report.

8. Do I have to fear personal disadvantages if I make a complaint?

Whistleblowers who submit their complaint in good faith are particularly well protected against discrimination and penalisation. They therefore do not have to fear any personal disadvantages if they express their concerns or ask for advice

Even after the procedure has been completed, it is possible and desirable to maintain contact between the complaints office, the DZNE and the whistleblower in order to ensure that this is not subsequently jeopardised by retaliatory measures

9. Documentation obligation

The results of investigations into breaches of obligations under the LkSG and the follow-up measures are documented in an internal final report. The documentation shall be kept for at least seven years from the date of its creation.

10. Review of the effectiveness of the complaints procedure

The effectiveness of the complaints procedure is reviewed by the DZNE at least once a year and on an ad hoc basis. As part of the review, the extent to which the procedure is known internally at the DZNE is also determined.

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