Vision and objectives
LACO has implemented a “whistleblower policy” that promotes transparency, integrity and accountability. The purpose of this policy is to provide employees with a secure framework to confidentially report misconduct within LACO. This policy establishes internal channels for reporting concerns while safeguarding the privacy of the whistleblower. In this way, we strive to take every report seriously, conduct thorough investigations, and take appropriate measures. A whistleblower is granted special legal protection against sanctions or other negative consequences when making a good faith report.
LACO encourages its employees to initially discuss their concerns with their direct superiors. However, if this is not appropriate or possible, this policy provides a safe alternative to bring misconduct to light. This policy has been developed in compliance with whistleblower legislation.
Who can make a report under this policy?
Anyone within their workplace at LACO who has obtained information about a potential violation of the law can make a report. This includes former or current employees and applicants, shareholders, the board, and other executive, volunteers, and interns, as well as anyone working under the supervision and direction of contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers for LACO.
What can you report under this policy?
Employees can make a report if they have reasonable suspicions or other information in their workplace about potential violations of the law at LACO (e.g., fraud, corruption, cybersecurity breaches, etc.) This pertains to information regarding actions or omissions that are in violation of the law and have already occurred or are likely to occur. It may also include information about attempts to conceal a violation.
Personal conflicts with colleagues do not fall under this policy and should be addressed internally with HR.
Where can whistleblowers make a report?
Internal Reporting Channels
Primarily, within its organization, LACO has designated a reporting point to receive and confidentially follow up on reports. Under this policy, LACO has appointed Ms. Sandra Steuns as the internal reporting point. A report to the internal reporting point can be made through the following channels:
LACO NV – Meldpunt klokkenluiders
Woluwelaan 135 A, 1831 Diegem
We recommend describing the situation as specifically as possible in a report and providing a clear explanation of concerns and/or suspicions: who, what, where, when and any attachments or additional information. The information should be as specific as possible and vague rumors or gossip are not sufficient.
If someone makes an oral report via phone or another voice messaging system, LACO may record the report (e.g., by recording the conversation or creating a written summary). The whistleblower can verify this. If a whistleblower requests a personal conversation, LACO can also create a report with the whistleblower’s consent.
LACO cannot guarantee anonymous handling or reports if a whistleblower chooses to report through a channel that can be identified (e.g., based on a personal email address, it may be possible to determine the whistleblower’s identity). Further Procedure for an Internal Report Within seven calendar days of receiving an internal report, the reporting point will send the whistleblower a confirmation of receipt. If the whistleblower still requests a personal conversation, this will take place within a reasonable timeframe.
Further procedure for an internal report
Within seven calendar days of receiving an internal report, the reporting center will send a confirmation of receipt to the report. If a reporter requests a personal meeting, it will take place within a reasonable timeframe.
The reporting point will carefully follow up on the report, investigate it and verify its accuracy. During this phase, the reporting point will maintain communication with the whistleblower and may request additional information if necessary.
No later than three months after sending the confirmation of receipt or, if no confirmation of receipt was mistakenly sent, in any case, after seven calendar days from the report, the reporting point will inform the whistleblower of the outcome of their report. This includes the measures taken or planned (such as further internal investigation, prosecution, etc.) and the reasons for these actions.
In addition to the reporting channels established by LACO, individuals can also choose to make a report to the Federal Ombudsman.
Federale Ombudsman – Centrum Integriteit
Leuvenseweg 48 bus 6, 1000 Brussel
Tel.: 0800 999 61 – Fax: 02 289 27 28
Protection of Whistleblowers and Other Protected Persons
When does it apply?
A whistleblower is eligible for protection if they make a good faith report about information regarding a violation of the law. This means, on one hand, that the whistleblower has no ulterior motives in making the report. On the other hand, it means that the whistleblower had good reason to believe that the reported information about the violation was accurate at the time of reporting, even if the report later proves to be incorrect or unfounded.
Furthermore, the protection under this policy also extends to (i) individuals connected to a whistleblower who may also be victims of work-related sanctions (e.g., colleagues or family members), (ii) individuals who confidentially assist a whistleblower (e.g. a colleague helping to find evidence), and (iii) legal entities connected to the whistleblower in a work-related context (e.g., the company of an independent service provider).
On the other hand, a whistleblower will not be afforded protection if he or she knew that the report is false or if a criminal act was committed to access the relevant information (e.g., theft). In such case, LACO may take legal action against the whistleblower. Additionally, malicious or hate-driven accusations are not allowed under this policy.
What does the protection entail?
Prohibition of sanctions or other negative consequences as a result of a report. This Policy prohibits anyone from imposing sanctions on a whistleblower or any other person involved in a valid report. LACO commits itself and its employees not to take measures, based on a report, that would harm the protected individuals, such as dismissal, disciplinary action, negative evaluation, denial of promotion, transfer, etc. This also includes threats and attempts to impose sanctions.
This protection applies to both internal and external reports. If the whistleblower fears that evidence would be withheld or that there is a threat to the public interest, this protection also applies to public disclosure.
If a whistleblower or other individuals involved experience negative consequences, they can seek assistance from HR or the prevention advisor. They can also file a complaint with the Federal Ombudsman.
Protecting the identity of the whistleblower and the content of the report is of great importance. LACO guarantees the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity (or, in the case of an anonymous report, anonymity), protected individuals, and any third parties mentioned in the report, and complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Within LACO, authorized personnel are bound by confidentiality throughout the entire process.
LACO will treat the whistleblower’s identity and all information provided as confidential as possible. The whistleblower’s identity may not be shared or disclosed without their free and express consent, except to authorized LACO personnel responsible for receiving or following up on reports. This also applies to any other information from which the whistleblower’s identity can be directly or indirectly inferred (e.g. email address, position, etc.). There may be circumstances in which LACO is legally obligated to disclose the whistleblower’s identity or the information provided, such as when a legal proceeding is underway. In such cases, we will inform the whistleblower in advance of the reasons for this disclosure, unless it would jeopardize the investigation or legal proceedings.
Questions about this policy?
For further explanations or questions about this policy, LACO employees or others can always contact the internal reporting point.