Confidential lawyer FAQ

Our FAQ contains answers to frequently asked questions on matters involving our Confidential lawyer.

What tasks does the Ombudsman have?

Employees are entitled to report circumstances that might suggest a violation of the law or internal regulations. The external entrusted attorney as Ombudsman accepts such information. They provide a legally protected and confidential environment outside the company. They advise the informant about their rights and the next steps. It is only with the informant’s consent that the Ombudsman’s office forwards the information to their contact person in the company. The informant is not named. The Ombudsman’s office may be included in the process as a person of trust. They are always available to the informant as a contact person.


Who can contact the Ombudsman's office?

Employees, suppliers, sales partners and customers, among others, may contact the Ombudsman’s office.


What information does the Ombudsman’s office accept?

The Ombudsman’s office is open to information about violations of the law and internal infringements. The primary objective is to clarify and prevent economic offences, balance sheet violations and asset misappropriation. But breaches of internal guidelines or violations of due diligence obligations under human rights might also warrant reporting.


Can I be certain that the Ombudsman’s office will only pass on information insofar as I allow it to do so?

Yes. The informant alone decides as to which information they give to the Ombudsman’s office and which information the Ombudsman’s office should pass on to the company in a second step. It is only in cases of misuse, i.e. deliberately false information, that the Ombudsman’s office is authorised to disclose information even against the will of the informant. The Ombudsman’s office will explain this upon initial contact.


Does it cost me anything to make use of the Ombudsman service?

No, anyone can use the Ombudsman’s service free of charge.


Can I also contact the Ombudsman’s office on an anonymous basis?

Yes, informants can also contact the Ombudsman’s office anonymously. This is the case even when you contact the Ombudsman’s office for the first time. To the extent desired, the Ombudsman’s office will then protect the anonymity of the informant against the company.


What happens with my information?

The information will be followed up with due regard for the law and internal regulations as well as the interests of all parties involved. To do this, the Ombudsman’s office will forward the information to their point of contact in the company following prior examination.


Am I free to contact the Ombudsman’s office about the status of the proceedings?

The informant may contact the Ombudsman’s office at any time to obtain information on the current status. No later than after the conclusion of the process, the informant shall be informed of the result by the Ombudsman’s office insofar as this is legally permissible.


Does the Ombudsman’s office become “my legal representative” if I contact it?

No, the Ombudsman’s office is not permitted to represent an informant in official or judicial proceedings. This is why the Ombudsman’s office cannot and must not take any action to enforce the individual rights or claims of the informant in court.


Is the Ombudsman’s office truly independent?

Yes. The Ombudsman’s office is an autonomous and independent legal counsel that is not subject to any directives by the company with regard to the substantive treatment of cases. The Ombudsman’s office decides whether and to what extent it may pass on a matter to the company after its own dutiful examination.


How is first contact made?

First contact can be made via the platform (contact link), in a telephone call, by email, by SMS, by post or in a face-to-face meeting.


Can I continue to contact the previously responsible offices in the company?

Yes. All employees continue to have their manager, the works council and all known points of reference at their disposal as their first point of contact.


Am I protected as an informant?

Yes. The informant is protected. Any retaliatory action directed against the informant will not be tolerated.


How is misuse of the service (denunciation) prevented?

In spite of the repeated scepticism, instances of denunciation are very rare with the service of an ombudsman’s office. Nevertheless, the entrusted attorney shall explain to the informant at the beginning of the discussion that any abuse of the informant system will not be tolerated and that in the event of intentional or knowing abuse, the entrusted attorney is obliged to pass on the personal details of the informant to the company. Employees who deliberately misuse the informant system will always be subject to disciplinary consequences. 


How is data protection and data security adhered to?

The Ombudsman’s office shall ensure compliance with the statutory retention obligations and the provisions of data protection law. The personal data collected shall be limited to information concerning the identity of the informant and the person(s) affected.


Will I be immediately dismissed if I am affected by reported information?

No. The presumption of innocence applies. Any information will be followed up with due regard for the law and internal regulations as well as the interests of all parties involved. A decision on possible measures will only be made after the investigation has been completed.


What happens if I give information but it turns out to be wrong in the end?

Provided the information was given in good faith, i.e. not intentionally false, the informant will not have to fear any consequences.


Do I have to contact the Ombudsman’s office if I suspect a violation of the law?

No, use of the Ombudsman’s office is voluntary. It has been set up as an additional point of contact.


Can I also visit the Ombudsman’s office in person?

Yes. There is always the possibility of visiting the entrusted attorney in person by appointment and having a confidential conversation.


Am I allowed to contact or even visit the Ombudsman’s office during working hours?



Will the company reimburse me for any travel expenses incurred?

Yes, the company will reimburse your travel expenses. The lawyer of trust will take care of this matter in order to ensure continued anonymity, if required.


Will I be notified when my information has been processed?

Yes. No later than after the conclusion of the process, the informant shall be informed of the result by the Ombudsman’s office or the company insofar as this is legally permissible.


Does the Ombudsman’s office have to divulge my identity when asked to be a witness in criminal or civil proceedings?

No. In the event that the Ombudsman’s office is called as a witness in criminal, civil or other proceedings, it will only divulge the name and identity of the informant seeking counsel if it has been explicitly permitted to do so by both the company and the informant.


Can I contact the Ombudsman’s office and only decide at the end of the discussion if the facts will be passed on to the company?

Yes. The Ombudsman’s office can be contacted in complete confidence at first. It informs the informant of their rights at the beginning of the conversation. It is only at the end of the conversation that the informant decides whether and in what form the information should be passed on to the company.


Should I also contact the Ombudsman’s office if I may have committed a criminal offence myself?

The Ombudsman’s office can also be contacted if the informant has committed a criminal offence themselves. On the one hand, the Ombudsman’s office is able to advise the informant of their rights, and on the other hand, a self-disclosure within the framework of the existing employment relationship is viewed in a positive light and can have a mitigating effect on punishment in any possible subsequent court proceedings.


Is the Ombudsman’s office under an obligation to pass on the information about a criminal offence directly to the public prosecutor’s office?

No. It is only in strictly limited exceptional cases of really serious criminal offences that there is an obligation for anyone to pass on information about a criminal offence to a public prosecutor’s office.


How is information processed if the contact person in the company is affected by it?

In such a case, the Ombudsman’s office may contact the company’s management directly.


How long does it take before a result is achieved?

This is not something that can be answered universally. Sometimes the process can be completed within just a few hours. Processing can take several weeks in the case of extensive investigations.


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Contact details for the Confidential lawyer

The primary objective is to prevent harm to employees, customers, business partners and the company.

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How the confidential hotline works

Employees or business partners who are experiencing difficulties or problems but do not wish to reach out to a supervisor, the HR or Legal department or anyone else within nobilia-Werke J. Stickling GmbH & Co. KG may instead contact the Confidential lawyer.