Few solutions are found on the market that are necessary in different settings and are as unknown, in general, as the complaints channel / ethical channel. It is an essential piece to respond to the need for control in different protocols, but it is rarely implemented correctly.
What is it for?
If all the people who interact with an organization acted ethically, it would be of no use. But reality shows that humans do not always act ethically and therefore an ethical channel is very useful. It basically serves two things:
- Demonstrate that the company has a clear objective of always acting ethically, in accordance with its principles and the law. And through the channel, it makes it easier for third parties who observe incorrect attitudes to communicate them and thus they can be corrected quickly and diligently. Someday, not having an ethical channel will be proof that this organization is not transparent.
- It generates a brake so that those who could act illegally or contrary to the organization’s code of conduct. The mere fact of having an ethical channel discourages many, who if it did not exist, they could consider acting illegally.
The channel provides a mechanism to facilitate the communication of illegal acts or what go against the organization’s code of conduct. There is always someone who, acting ethically and with principles of integrity, will comment on a situation that is not correct. Also, if the channel is anonymous, it will still be easier for irregular actions to be reported. And these happen in all types of organizations, large, medium and even small, public or private.
Is it mandatory to have an ethical channel?
The answer is it depends, but very soon the answer will be yes for many organizations. In December 2021 the European directive 2019/1937 which will make it mandatory for companies with more than 50 employees or 10MM euros of turnover to have a complaints channel. It remains to be seen how the directive will be transposed in Spain and the possible sanctions for non-compliance.
But regardless of the directive, the channel is already required by other regulations / laws and affects different areas and companies. Here are some of them:
- Criminal Compliance
- UN 19601 / ISO 37301
- Harassment protocol at work, sexual or based on sex
- Equality plane
- Data protection law
- Money laundering and terrorist financing
And as of 2018, complaints in Spain can be anonymous and therefore email is no longer an adequate channel as a communication mechanism.
Who should implement a channel?
It depends on the type of business, but many are already required to implement it.
- Since December 2021, companies with 250 or more employees or € 10MM. And within 2 years, companies with 50 or more employees.
- For the equality plan, since March 2021 companies with more than 100 employees.
- For money laundering and financing of terrorism there are many companies that must implement the internal channel, such as financial entities, insurance, cryptocurrencies, foundations, real estate / construction, notaries, registries or lawyers among others.
Since ithikios We have created an internal complaints channel, easy to implement, covering legal regulations and facilitating management in companies of different sizes.