Whistleblowers

When should you report corruption or file a complaint? 

Before you decide to file a complaint, please answer these three questions:

1.      Are you a whistleblower?

To be a whistleblower of anti-social activities means that in the course of your work you have learned information that you perceive as a behaviour endangering the public interest.

2.      What does it mean to endanger a public interest?

Behaviour endangering the public interest is conduct with a negative impact on the interests of the society as a whole and the interests of individuals. Formally, it includes all crimes of corruption, illicit schemes in public procurement, abuse of power by public authorities, offenses, and administrative offenses et.

3.      Do you have any relevant information?

The complaint can be filed in any work area. However, relevant information indicating anti-socials activities that endanger the public interest needs to be provided along with the complaint. Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that as a whistleblower you file a complaint in good faith – meaning that you have a good reason to perceive provided information as true.

An example of a situation in which you should ACT
You are a member of the selection committee for the government tender for a road reconstruction at the Ministry of Transport. Your superiors have just awarded the road tender to „The Quality Materials Company “. During the selection process, you noticed that some members of the selection committee have a special interest in this company´s win. It is also indicated by the wording of the tender, which has been modified to suit the specific company.

This activity could endanger the public interest and have a negative impact on more than one person. 

In this case, you have several options who to contact: an internal system for reporting corruption in your organisation, the police or prosecutor’s office. You can also report it to our office, as long as you noticed corruption in the course of your work.  
Corruption Report Form 

An example of a situation when you DON’T have enough evidence
Your neighbour recently bought a new and expensive car. You are not aware of the fact that his company is doing so well. In your community, it is well known that he got the money to buy the car by corruption in a road tender. In addition, you heard that his company won the tender due to his contacts at the Ministry of Transport.

In this case, it is just a presumption. If you do not have any relevant evidence, neither the competent authorities nor our office will be able to investigate it. 

What should I do if I suspect corruption in my company? Practice guide

If you witnessed an act of corruption in your company and you need more information on how to proceed, you can follow our practice guide step by step in choosing the right way to report corrupt practices with the goal of achieving the best results for both sides.

1. The public interest has been endangered or violated by anti-social activity.
Act of corruption is an anti-social activity that endangers or violates public interest. It can negatively affect a large group of people or society. It is usually an activity that is contrary to the protection of the rules managing public finances, public life, public property, the environment, or public health. 

2. The anti-social activity occurred in the course of your work.

The Whistleblower Protection Office can only assist the whistleblower in a labour relationship with his / her employer.

Primarily, the Office deals with the corrupt activities reported in the course of your work, within your position or in contract work where you operate as a supplier of goods and services, etc.

You can also be a whistleblower if you have received an information about any anti-social activities in a labour relationship that has recently ended or has just begun.

3. Have you found corruption in your workplace or witnessed it?

The more proof you have that corruption in the workplace is occurring, the better. To properly investigate your complaint, we will need more information or evidence, details of your personal experience, or any paper evidence of such corrupt activities. All types of paper documents (contracts, e-mails, or photos) supporting your allegations could be very helpful in the investigation.  

4. Examples of situations in which we cannot help you.
 

Not all situations can jeopardize the public interest – although they can sometimes be unpleasant.

For example:

·         you have a personal disagreement with your supervisor – but the threat to the public interest is missing

·         company management is bullying you – it may endanger you but not the public interest

·         you live near a manufacturing factory, or you are just its customer, you suspect corruption there – if there is no labour relationship between you and the factory, we cannot help you  

In these situations, you can still contact the following state institutions: National Labour Inspectorate, attorney, Slovak National Center for Human Rights (ENNHRI) or nongovernmental organizations. Furthermore, if you have reliable evidence about serious crimes, including corruption, you can report it directly to the police or prosecutor’s office.

The main objective of the Whistleblower Protection Office is to protect and to assist those who witnessed corrupt activity at work that harms society as a whole and those who would like to report it in good faith – meaning that he/she has a good reason to perceive provided information as true.  

5. How and when we can help you?

First of all, we will provide you with information on how to file a complaint and advise you on what to prepare then. Besides that, we will explain to you in more detail what forms of legal protection will apply to you after you file a complaint.

In some cases of reporting corruption, the Office may provide legal protection to whistleblowers. They can also use the status to protect themselves from the retaliation by their employers, such as salary reduction, termination of employment, etc.

The Whistleblower Protection Office will help you manage the whole process of reporting corruption. We listen to you carefully as we recognize that filing a complaint and handling it can sometimes be lengthy and challenging.   

All services provided by Whistleblower Protection Office are free of charge and strictly confidential.

6. Where can you file a complaint?

You have several options. Each employer in Slovakia with 50 or more employees, including the authorities (municipality or state office) that employ at least 5 employees, must create conditions and procedures for internal reporting which allow employees to report potentially anti-social activities internally. We usually recommend using this procedure first.

If you have a specific reason why the company’s internal system cannot objectively investigate your complaint, you can directly contact the police, prosecutor’s office, or our office.

7. What is the next step?

The following procedure depends on the type of notification.

If you reported the notification through your organization’s internal system and the case has already been investigated and resolved, the investigation has ended.

If you decided to report the corruption to our office, we will first assess the relevance and completeness of your report and then proceed accordingly. We may also ask you to complete the required information or provide advice on how to proceed.

I would like to report an unfair practice

We appreciate your interest in reporting anti-social activity to our office. In this form, you can send us basic information about your case. We will help you as best as we can.