External Complaints Committee Procedure
The procedure of the External Complaints Committee (hereinafter referred to as EKC) is as follows:
Submission of the complaint
- Anyone who feels a victim of transgressive behavior such as (sexual) intimidation, aggression, violence and discrimination within the activities performed for the organization can submit a complaint about this to the Management Board and, if it concerns the Management Board, to the Supervisory Board (hereinafter referred to as: the competent authority), or directly with the EKC.
- The complaint is submitted in writing to the complaints committee, for the attention of the official secretary of the EKC: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In the written complaint, the complainant indicates the incidents/events, the name of the defendant and the period within which the incidents/events took place. A description is also given of the steps taken by the complainant.
- The complainant must indicate whether he wishes to receive support from a companion or counselor who fulfills a supporting and listening role during the hearing and who, like any other person involved, is bound to secrecy.
- The official secretary will immediately confirm receipt of the complaint to the complainant. The working method of the EKC is included.
- The EKC will inform the competent authority that a complaint has been received.
Admissibility of the complaint
- The EKC will decide within a maximum of two weeks after receipt of the complaint whether the complaint is is admissible.
- A complaint will be declared inadmissible if:
- The complaint does not relate to transgressive behaviour;
- The complaint has been submitted on behalf of others;
- The complaint has been submitted anonymously;
- The complainant has previously filed a complaint with regard to the same facts;
- The complainant is not an employee (in the broadest sense of the word) of the organization;
- The employment (or other contractual form) ended more than 2 years ago;
- The complaint concerns an unacceptable action, which took place more than 2 years ago;
- The complaint does not relate to an incident during the employment contract or the period that the complainant has worked for the employer.
- If the complaint has been declared admissible, the complainant will be notified of this, accompanied by the complaints procedure and/or the EKC working method if this is not included in the complaints procedure, and the confidentiality statement.
If the complaint is declared admissible, the defendant will be notified of this in writing by the official secretary, accompanied by the procedure of the EKC if this is not included in the complaints procedure, and the confidentiality statement.
Handling the complaint
- The EKC will, as soon as possible after receipt of the written complaint, initiate an investigation into the undesirable behavior to which the complaint relates. At the handling the complaint, the EKC holds one or more sessions at which it informs the complainant, the defendant and any witnesses or other persons who are important for this research, hear.
- When the defendant is summoned to appear before the EKC, a copy of the written complaint of the complainant will be sent after receipt of the signed confidentiality agreement. The invitation letter, the complaints procedure and the complaint will be sent by letter within the framework of the AVG (General Data Protection Regulation Implementation Act GDPR).
- The written complaint will not be given to witnesses or other persons who are heard.
- Anyone who gains knowledge of confidential data in any way in the context of the investigation is obliged to maintain confidentiality. The complainant, the defendant, the counselor and any witnesses or others who are heard for this investigation and the legal counsel sign a non-disclosure agreement and provide their mobile phone number, which is checked by the EKC.
- The complainant, defendant and any witness(es) or other persons of interest are required to appear for the examination.
- The EKC assesses whether a witness or other expert will be called to make a statement at the hearing.
- If the complainant, defendant, witnesses or other experts do not appear at the hearing or do not answer the questions asked, the EKC can draw the conclusion it deems appropriate.
- The complainant and the defendant may, with respect to the complaints procedure, be assisted by a counselor of his/her choice, unless he/she is involved in the complaint. The Respondent may, with respect to the grievance procedure, be assisted by a counselor of his or her own choice, unless he or she is involved in the complaint.
- The complainant and the defendant are heard in the absence of each other: in a hearing and a second hearing.
- If desired, the EKC can advise the client in the interim to take measures.
- The chairman of the EKC ensures that the investigation phase is completed within six to eight weeks after the complaint has been declared admissible. If there are valid reasons, this period can be extended by the EKC to twelve weeks.
- The hearings will be held at a remote location. This guarantees confidentiality and discretion/secrecy.
- The sessions of the committee are closed. A written report is made of each session by the official secretary. The official secretary will make an audio recording of the meeting for each session for the purpose of making the report. The sound recording will be deleted by the EKC after the advice given by the EKC (see: advice from the EKC).
- The complainant and the defendant can submit factual corrections to the official secretary of the EKC on their own report. The EKC will assess these corrections. Other comments are not processed, but are stapled to the report. The report is then adopted by the EKC.
- The complainant has the right to inspect the defendant’s report and the defendant has the right to inspect the complainant’s report during the retrial hearings held separately with the defendant and the complainant. The reports are not issued to the complainant and the defendant (except for its own adopted report).
- In the second round of hearings, the complainant and the defendant are given the opportunity to express their views on the reports of the other party or findings and/or can respond to them in writing within a period to be specified by the EKC. A short point-by-point report will be made of this.
- The reports of the witnesses or other persons called are prepared under the responsibility of the EKC and are only provided to the persons concerned with a request to make factual corrections. EKC will review these corrections. The report is then adopted by the EKC. Other comments are not processed, but are stapled to the report.
- The reports of witnesses and other summoned persons (as mentioned under point 5) are not provided nor are they made available for inspection to the complainant or the defendant.
- No reports made during the investigation will be made available to the client, nor to the complainant and defendant. The complainant and the defendant only receive their own report.
- Reports are sent by e-mail to the person concerned, encrypted with a password. The password is provided to the person concerned subject by SMS.
Advice from the committee
- Within eight to ten weeks after the complaint has been declared admissible, the EKC will provide written advice to the competent authority with copies to the complainant and the defendant. If this term cannot be met, the complainant and the defendant will be informed of this, stating the reasons, as well as the term within which the advice will be given. In that case, the term can be exceeded by a maximum of four weeks.
- The advice of the EKC includes at least the following points:
- The details of the complainant and defendant and the hierarchical or functional relationship with each other;
- The content of the complaint;
- The grounds on which the complaint was declared admissible;
- The grounds on which the complaint has been declared founded or not;
- If applicable, the interim recommended measures;
- Possible advice to the client.
- Witnesses and other persons called up in this process are not further informed by the EKC about the advice provided.
- The companion or counselor chosen by the complainant and the defendant themselves will not be further informed by the EKC about the advice of the EKC.
Within two to four weeks after the EKC has issued its advice, the competent authority will send a reasoned decision in writing to the complainant, the defendant and the EKC.
EKC advises to keep the advice in a sealed envelope for two years in the personnel file of the complainant and defendant and destroy it thereafter. EKC itself destroys all data after the end of the reporting year.
EKC complies with the legislation in the context of GDPR. No confidential, personally identifiable information is provided by e-mail. The computer and mobile phone of the members of the EKC and the official secretary are locked with a password/pin code.