ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV (“Company,” “we,” “our” or “us”) is committed to honest and ethical business conduct. As stated in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, integrity is one of the key values that guides our conduct and our business relationships. We, along with the ST Engineering iDirect Group, do not tolerate any fraud, corruption, illegal activity, impropriety conduct, malpractice, violations of our policies, statutory non-compliance or any wrongdoing by board members, shareholders, employees, consultants, vendors, contractors, customers or any other parties with a business relationship with us. To assure we achieve our commitment to integrity, we are determined to foster and maintain a business environment where anyone can report any wrongdoing, in good faith, without the fear of retaliation.
This commitment to integrity is why we fully support the whistleblowing system created by the EU Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 (the “EU Directive”) on the protection of individuals who report breaches of European Union law and the corresponding Belgian Whistleblowing Act (“Belgian Act”) adopting the EU Directive into national legislation, effective as of February 15th 2023. (1)
Consistent with the Belgian Act, ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV has created a specific whistleblowing channel for employees and other whistleblowers to confidentially report any incident or breach of internal policies and procedures or violation of a broad range of laws and regulations. You can access this internal channel by clicking on the link Belgian Whistleblowing Platform.
We understand that making a whistleblowing report is not an easy decision. At ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV, we are aware that you are concerned about the possible implications and potential reprisals of making such a report. In addition to a confidential whistleblowing reporting channel, ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV has established this policy to ensure that a framework exists within which reporting parties can express their concerns without fear of retaliation.
This Whistleblowing Policy applies to all individuals/legal entities who have or have had a working relationship with ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV including:
- Temporary workers such as contractors or agency workers;
- Interns or unpaid volunteers;
- Persons providing services on a self-employed basis, such as consultants;
- Shareholders; and
This policy also applies to reporters (“you” or “your”) whose working relationship with us has ended or is about to begin, if they obtained information about incidents or breaches during or after the working relationship, or during the recruitment process or other pre-contractual negotiations.
Examples of areas that fall within the scope of this Whistleblowing Policy:
- Violations of ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV policies or procedures, including unethical behaviour, poor quality performance, incompetence and professional misconduct;
- Social fraud;
- Public procurement;
- Protection of the environment;
- Product safety and compliance;
- Criminal offences, including bribery, corruption, theft or fraud;
- Failure to comply with EU or Belgian legal laws and regulations;
- Failure to protect privacy rights and personal data, and security of network and information systems; and
- Attempts to suppress or conceal information relating to any of the above areas.
3. Submission of reports under the Belgian Act
You are strongly encouraged to report your concerns through internal channels if you become aware of a breach or violation of laws, regulations of our internal policies and procedures.
There are two main channels of reporting: the confidential internal whistleblowing reporting platform established by us for this purpose. You can access this platform at Belgian Whistleblowing Platform. The second channel is an external reporting procedure to a competent Belgian government authority that has yet to be established.
In addition, the Belgian Act acknowledges a third channel, namely the public disclosure of breaches or violations through the media such as the press, online platforms, or in a book or magazine. Reporters who publicly disclose breaches or violations in this manner will be protected from retaliation by the Belgian Act if they follow certain conditions.
ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV has established a Whistleblowing Platform through an external third party which makes it possible to submit reports anonymously. When making an anonymous report via the Whistleblowing Platform, it is important that the reporter notes or remembers the report number and the verification code, as this is the only way for us to anonymously review and investigate the report and communicate with the reporter.
In accordance with the EU Directive, the Belgian government is obliged to designate the authorities competent to receive reports, provide feedback and follow-up on reports, and to provide whistleblowers with adequate resources during the process. We will update this policy as soon as a competent authority is designated by the government of Belgian, through executive legislation.
Contents of your report
Whether you report your concerns internally or externally, your report should contain the following information:
- Your name and relation to ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV as well as your contact details (unless you choose to report anonymously via the Whistleblowing Platform);
- Your role or involvement in the incident or breach mentioned in the report;
- The name and contact details of other individuals/legal entities who witnessed, or have further information about, the incident or breach;
- Any information you might have about similar previous incidents or breaches involving the individual(s)/legal entities mentioned in your report; and
- Any evidence or useful documents you have in connection with the breach or incident.
4. Treatment of a report
A report will be sent to our designated Whistleblower Committee and handled by the appointed whistleblowing officer who will be considered as the reporting manager. Upon receipt of the report, the reporting manager will determine whether the report falls within the scope of the Belgian Act and this policy. Within seven (7) days after receipt of a report, the reporting manager will advise the reporter whether the report has been accepted or refused for review and investigation.
Investigation of the report
Upon acceptance of a report, the reporting manager will initiate a confidential investigation into the contents of the report.
Within three (3) months after the acceptance of a report, the reporting manager will inform the reporter of the status of the investigation. The reporter has the right to be informed of the status of the investigation. The reporter does not have the right to receive the content of the investigation.
As required by the Belgian Act, ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV is obliged to give the individuals/legal entities mentioned in the report the opportunity to be heard in due course and to explain their side of the facts, taking into account the anonymity and confidentiality of the report and where the opportunity to be heard does not interfere with the progress of the investigation.
Termination of the investigation
The reporting manager will report his or her findings from an investigation in writing to the General Manager Belgium who will decide what action(s) will be taken.
When the investigation is completed, the reporter will be informed of the outcome, including the notification that the findings of the investigation have been provided to the General Manager Belgium. If the reporter is not a party to the investigation, he/she will only receive limited information about how ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV is handling the report and the outcome.
Confidentiality of the report
If you submit a report, the confidentiality of your identity will be kept confidential and protected in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Your identity will not be disclosed to persons, other than those authorized to receive or follow up on reports, without your express consent. This also applies to all other information from which your identity can be derived. Your identity may only be disclosed in the event of a necessary and proportionate obligation imposed by EU or national law in the context of investigations by national authorities or legal proceedings. Disclosure of your identification may be necessary in order to protect the rights of person(s) identified in the report.
5. Protection of the whistleblower
No whistleblower, as defined in the scope, who reports an incident or breach can be penalized or be the subject of any discriminatory or retaliatory measure because he or she made a report in good faith through any of the three (3) whistleblowing channels. ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV does not permit retaliation against a whistleblower who, in good faith, reports an incident or breach or potential violation of the ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV policies or EU/Belgian laws and regulations. If, upon investigation, the reporting manager is unable to confirm the allegations of a report or if the allegations prove to be unfounded, no action will be taken against the reporter who has expressed his or her concerns in good faith.
ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV will not condone a reporter who deliberately submits reports that he/she knows or is deemed to know to be false. ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV will sanction intentional false reports appropriately according to laws and regulations.
A reporter who acts in bad faith can be held liable for the damages suffered by persons or legal entities as a result of false reports.
A reporter who has deliberately reported, or made public, false information may be subject to criminal prosecution for assaulting the honor or reputation of other persons or legal entities.
(1) “Belgian Act of 28 November 2022″on the protection of reporting persons of breaches of Union or national law established within a legal entity in the private sector” published in the Belgian Official Gazette 15 December 2022