This page introduces the basic approaches for the enterprises that receive reports to appropriately deal with those reports.
Important Obligations of Enterprises Receiving Reports
Under the whistleblower Protection Act, enterprises have the following obligations in order appropriately deal with whistleblowing disclosures within the enterprise. Establishment of those systems by an enterprise will not only enhance the "self-cleaning" actions within the enterprise but also lead to reduction of reputational risk, etc. due to reporting to the outside of the enterprise. In addition, a person who is engaged in the business of dealing with whistleblowing disclosures (a person dealing with whistleblowing disclosures such as investigating the contents of a report) is obliged to keep confidentiality of information identifying the person who made the report (such as the name of the whistleblower).
Matters to Be Dealt with by Enterprises
- Obligation to Designate a Person Engaged in the Business
It is necessary to designate as a "person engaged in the business" a person who performs the business of dealing with whistleblowing disclosure (a person who receives reports at a contact point, a person who is engaged in investigations, etc., a person who implements rectification measures, etc.) and is informed of the name of the whistleblower, etc. in connection with the business.
* A person engaged in the business has a legal obligation of confidentiality not to divulge such information as the name of the whistleblower, a violation of which will result in a fine of not more than 300,000 yen.
The "person who performs the business of dealing with whistleblowing disclosure" includes not only a person who performs all of the business of dealing with whistleblowing disclosures (from reception at a contact point to investigation and rectification measures) but also a person who performs a part of them (reception at a contact point only). This is because the information which enables the identification of the whistleblower must not be leaked out at any stage of the business of dealing with whistleblowing disclosures so that the whistleblower can make a report with peace of mind.
In designating a person engaged in the business, in order to prevent a situation where a criminal punishment is imposed against the expectation of the person engaged in the business, the person engaged in the business must be designated in such a manner that the person engaged in the business himself/herself will be able to accept the position of person engaged in the business.
- Obligation to Establish Systems for Dealing with Whistleblowing Disclosures
Enterprises have the obligation to establish a system for dealing with reports such as widely receiving reports from the inside of the enterprise and to take measures to ensure the independence, neutrality and fairness of the business of dealing with whistleblowing disclosures.
(Examples) Establishing a contact point for receiving internal whistleblowing disclosures across divisions (such as establishment of it at a contact point for receiving internal whistleblowing disclosures), conducting investigative and rectification measures of internal whistleblowing disclosures received at the contact point (measures for execution of the business of dealing with whistleblowing disclosures), establishing a system to eliminate influence from executives (measures for securing independence from the head of the organization and other executives), exclusion of interested parties (measures for eliminating conflicts of interest)
In addition, in order not to cause any hesitation in making a whistleblowing disclosure, the enterprises are obligated to take measures to protect any whistleblower from disadvantageous treatment, search for the whistleblower, and leakage of information that enables the identification of the whistleblower. If any disadvantageous treatment of, search for, or leakage of information on, a whistleblower actually occurs, the enterprise must take appropriate measures such as disciplinary punishment against the employee or officer who committed such acts.
(Examples) Prohibition of disadvantageous treatment of a whistleblower, prevention of Searching for a whistleblower (measures to prevent searching for a whistleblower), confidentiality of Information on a whistleblower (measures to prevent sharing of information outside of scope)
In addition, measures for the effective functioning of the system for dealing with internal whistleblowing disclosures must be taken.
(Examples) Educating and informing employees, etc., notifying whistleblower of rectification measures, etc., retaining records, periodically reviewing the system and disclosing actual results of its operation, formulating and operating internal rules