Report a potential violation | Ombudsman

What does the ombudsman do?

The ombudsman, also called attorney-of-trust, is an independent, trusted third party who is available to receive confidential and, on request, anonymous, reports. As of 1/8/2022, ARI-Armaturen staff and third-parties can contact him if they wish to provide information on infringements against laws or against internal rules or on other irregularities. The option of submitting reports through a neutral third party is intended to contribute to deterring damages to employees, customers, business partners and ARI-Armaturen.

Procedure for reporting

The ombudsman reviews each incoming information for reasonableness. If an information is supported by increasing points of reference, the ombudsman consults with the informant and escalates this report to ARI-Armaturen and assists with the process. This also enables the ombudsman to preserve anonymity with respect to ARI-Armaturen, if desired. In addition, the informant is offered protection in that any retaliatory action against him will not be tolerated. Next, the facts of the matter are subjected to study and legal analysis, and measures to eliminate and prevent infringements are established. Thus, after conclusion of the process, the ombudsman provides the informant with information on this to the extent legally possible. In addition, the informant can ask the ombudsman at any time about the status of the process.

Comments

  • The ombudsman constitutes an additional option for passing on information. This does not affect other arrangements regarding complaints and reports.
  • The informant can contact the ombudsman free of charge.

Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff, LL.M.

External attorney
Loebellstraße 4
33602 Bielefeld, Germany
Phone: +49 521 557 333 0
Mobile: +49 151 58230321

Email:
ombudsmann@thielvonherff.de

Reporting platform:
www.report-tvh.de

Homepage:
www.thielvonherff.com

NOTE: Customer complaints are not within the ombudsman’s scope of responsibility. For this purpose, please use the contact form.


FAQ about the ombudsman (attorney-of-trust)

  1. What are the duties of the ombudsman?

    Information that is suggestive of a potential infringement of laws or internal rules can be addressed to him. The ombudsman provides a legally protected and confidential space outside of the company. He explains the informant’s rights as well as the further procedure. The ombudsman only communicates the informant’s lead to the contact person at ARI-Armaturen with the informant’s consent. The ombudsman can be involved into the process. As a trusted third party, he is available to the informant at all times as a contact person.
     
  2. Who can contact the ombudsman?

    Any employees and external parties, such as suppliers or service providers.
     
  3. What information does the ombudsman receive?

    The ombudsman receives reports regarding infringements of laws and internal rules. The intention is the investigation and prevention of criminal acts such as economic offences, breaches of accounting rules as well as financial losses. Breaches of the internal code of conduct, such as, for example, discriminatory acts, can also be reported.
     
  4. Can I be certain that the ombudsman only passes on information to the extent that I allow him to?

    Yes. Only the informant decides what information he provides to the ombudsman and what information the ombudsman shall pass on, as a second step, to the company. Only in the event of misuse, i.e. in the event of intentionally false information, is the ombudsman authorised to pass on information without the informant’s consent. The ombudsman shall explain this when initial contact is made.
     
  5. Do I have to pay a fee for contacting the ombudsman?

    No, anyone can avail himself of the ombudsman free of charge.
     
  6. Can I also contact the ombudsman anonymously?

    Yes. Informants can also contact the ombudsman anonymously. This applies also to the initial contact with the ombudsman. If desired, the ombudsman then preserves the anonymity of the informing person with respect to ARI-Armaturen.
     
  7. What happens with my information?

    The information is considered and analysed in compliance with the law and internal rules, while taking into account the interests of all involved parties. After prior investigation, the ombudsman passes on the report to his contact person at ARI-Armaturen.
     
  8. Am I allowed to contact the ombudsman regarding the status of the process?

    The informant can ask the ombudsman at any time about the status of the matter. The informing person will be notified by the ombudsman of the result to the extent legally permissible at the latest after conclusion of the process.
     
  9. Does the ombudsman become “my lawyer”, when I contact him?

    No, the ombudsman is not permitted to represent informing parties in a judicial or administrative proceeding. For this reason, the ombudsman cannot and may not initiate any steps to assert the individual rights or claims of the informant in court.
     
  10. Is the ombudsman independent?

    Yes. The ombudsman carries out his activity as an autonomous and independent advocate and is not subject to any instructions from ARI-Armaturen regarding the handling of the substance of the matter. After conducting his own investigation as required, the ombudsman decides whether and to what extent he is permitted to pass on to ARI-Armaturen the circumstance disclosed to him.
     
  11. How can initial contact be made?

    Initial contact can be made by telephone, by email, by SMS, by post or even in a face-to-face meeting.
     
  12. Can I continue to contact the departments at ARI-Armaturen that have been in charge of this up to now in the company?

    Yes. Within ARI-Armaturen, the supervisors, the works council and the management continue to be available as contact persons.
     
  13. Do I receive protection as an informant?

    Yes. Informing people are protected. No retaliatory actions aimed at the informing people will be tolerated.
     
  14. What measures are taken to prevent the misuse of the institution of an ombudsman, respectively the whistleblowing system?

    When an ombudsman is appointed, in spite of any doubts relating to misuse or denunciation, such cases happen very rarely. However, at the start of the meeting, the ombudsman explains to that misuse of the whistleblowing system is not tolerated and that in the event of intentional, and hence deliberate, misuse, the ombudsman is obliged to pass on the personal data of the informing person to the company. In any event, intentional bad faith misuse of the whistleblowing system has legal consequences.
     
  15. How are data protection and data security observed?

    The ombudsman ensures compliance with all legal obligations such as preserving records and data protection regulations. The personal data is limited to information on the identity of the informing person and other involved persons. ARI-Armaturen’s data protection officer verifies regularly that the whistleblowing management complies with data protection.
     
  16. Will I be given notice of dismissal immediately if I am mentioned in a report to the ombudsman?

    No. There is a presumption of innocence. Every lead is pursued in compliance with the law and internal rules and taking into account the interests of all involved parties. Possible measures are only decided upon the conclusion of the process.
     
  17. What happens if I provide a lead, but this lead then proves to be false?

    As long as the information was provided in good faith, i.e. was not intentionally false, the informing person shall not be affected by any consequences.
     
  18. Do I have to contact the ombudsman if I suppose that there has been a breach of the law?

    No, contacting of the ombudsman is voluntary as an additional resource.
     
  19. Can I go to see the ombudsman in person?

    Yes. There is the option to go to see the ombudsman in person for a confidential meeting at any time.
     
  20. Will I be informed when my report has been fully processed?

    Yes. The informing person will be notified by the ombudsman of the result to the extent legally permissible at the latest after conclusion of the process.
     
  21. Does the ombudsman have to disclose my identity if he is interrogated in a criminal or civil proceeding as a witness?

    No. If the ombudsman is interrogated in a criminal, civil or other type of proceeding as a witness, he will only disclose the name and identity of the informing person consulting him when both the company and the informing person have expressly permitted him to do so.
     
  22. Can I contact the ombudsman first and thereafter decide at the end of the meeting whether the circumstance and/or my particulars are passed on to ARI-Armaturen?

    Yes. Initially, the ombudsman can be contacted in a completely confidential manner. The ombudsman explains to the informant his rights at the start of the meeting. Only at the end of the meeting does the informing person decide whether and in what manner the information is to be passed on to ARI-Armaturen.
     
  23. Should I contact the ombudsman if I could have committed a criminal offence myself?

    The ombudsman can also be contacted when the informing person might have committed a criminal offence himself. On the one hand, the ombudsman can explain to the informing person his rights, and on the other hand, reporting oneself has a positive value in the context of the existing employment relationship and can serve as a mitigating factor in any later judicial proceeding.
     
  24. Is the ombudsman obligated to pass on the lead regarding a criminal offence directly to the prosecution office?

    No. Only in very narrowly defined exceptional cases, in the event of very serious criminal offences, is anyone obligated to pass on the information regarding a criminal offence to a prosecution office.
     
  25. How is information processed if the contact person in the company himself is affected?

    In this case, the ombudsman can contact the company’s management directly.
     
  26. How long does it take for a result to become available?

    This cannot be answered in general terms. There are tips that can be processed conclusively within a few hours. In the case of extensive investigations, processing can take several weeks.