Third Party Complaint Process for Breaches to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH - Workplace Standards or Violations of International Human Rights Norms
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH is committed to operating as a sustainable business which is environmentally sound, respects human rights and ensures fair, safe, and healthy working conditions across our global supply chain. To support this goal, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH has established sustainability policies and practices as well as a code of conduct – our Workplace Standards - which our suppliers, agents, licensees, and other related service providers are expected to follow.
The Third-Party Complaint Process described below is designed to assist the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH fulfil its commitments to engaging our stakeholders and providing a means by which individuals and organisations can bring to our attention serious non-compliance with the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s Workplace Standards or concerns related to any potential, or actual, breach of an international human right norm that is linked to cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH operations, products, or services. Our process aims to ensure that such complaints are investigated and resolved in a manner which is transparent and fair.
What will constitute a complaint under the process?
A complaint is a report of:
(a) a violation by a supplier, licensee, agent, or contractor of an element of the Workplace Standards relevant to that supplier, contractor, or service provider; or
(b) any breach of an international human rights norm, whether related to an external service provider, supplier or to cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s own business operations, where these affect an outside party.
Separate but related complaint mechanisms are available with respect to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s own business practices, in matters of any breach of national laws and/or external and internal regulations. For example, in relation to business ethics, privacy and employment practices.
These parallel processes are managed by the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s Legal and Compliance team, through an internal reporting mechanism to the General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer.
What type of complaint can be made?
The complaint should be factual, and evidence based. This means that the complainant should be able to produce sufficient information to demonstrate the relevance and seriousness of the complaint, that it is a breach of the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s Workplace Standards, or of an international human rights norm, and that there is clear link to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH.
Who can complain?
Any individual or organisation directly affected by an issue, or an organisation with a formal mandate to represent individuals or communities directly affected, can make a complaint related to cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH operations or our global supply chain. They must have access to first-hand knowledge of the circumstances of the complaint and if they are an organisation, they must be viewed as a legitimate representative of those affected.
How can a complaint be made?
Workers with complaints or grievances who work in factories making products for the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH should use the hotline numbers posted in their workplaces. The worker hotlines are operated by staff from our Social & Environmental Affairs (SEA) department, or in some countries, by independent third parties and NGOs who speak the local languages of the worker populations.
For other third parties, we encourage written submissions, emailed, faxed, or posted. The complaint does not have to be submitted in English, it can be submitted in the individual’s or organisation’s own language.
The complaint should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or posted or if available faxed to:
cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH
Fon +49(0)621 30 983-0
Fax +49(0)621 30 983-444
Cybergroup UK Ltd.
Hearle House, Unit 5
East Terrace Business Park
Chorley, PR7 6TB
Fon +44(0)1257 676 246
Cybergroup International Corp.
135 Weston Road l Suite 317
Weston | FL 33326
United States of America
Fon +1 (561) 283 1508
cyber-Wear Shanghai Ltd
3F, BLDG 2, Yuanzhong Industrial Park,
No. 2071, Hongmei Road, Xuhui District
Cybergroup Asia Ltd
Unit 07-08, 16th Floor, Tower 1, Ever Gain Plaza
88 Container Port Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories
Where workers have participated in on-site or off-site interviews with SEA staff members, they are free to contact those staff members directly.
What information is required by the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH?
The complaint should provide the following basic information:
- Name of the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH entity or the name of the supplier/contractor or employer: the normal trading name of the company providing products or services to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH. The name of the workers’ employer (if different), or any sub-contractor is also required.
- Name of work site: including information to allow identification of the specific location of the factory, warehouse, business unit, or activity to which the complaint relates.
- Link with the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH product or service: description of product or service being supplied, with as much detail as possible.
- Alleged breach: the element of the Workplace Standards or human rights norm which has or is being breached, a short description of the nature of the breach, any supporting evidence, and the date or period when the alleged breach occurred.
- Contact point: name and full contact details of individual or organisation making the complaint. If the complaint is being handled on behalf of others, provide the contact details for the originators of the complaint.
- Confidentiality: whether the complainant or a party to the complaint must remain anonymous and the reasons for anonymity (see below).
Ideally, the following additional information should be included. If not provided initially, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will contact the complainant to gather this information and assess whether the complaint should be taken forward:
- The scale of the alleged problem: how many workers or products are involved? How has the community been impacted? Is there immediate physical danger? How serious is the breach to the Workplace Standards or how severe is the adverse impact on the international human rights norm?
- Supporting information: details about where corroborating information can be found.
- Is the grievance being pursued by other means? Has a formal grievance with the employer been lodged, or mediation or arbitration been sought, or a court case been filed? Have other local or international agencies been contacted?
- Has the issue been raised before? Has the issue been the subject of previous complaints to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH via another complaints mechanism? Has the issue been raised with other organisations, for example local government agencies?
- What is the preferred solution? What do the complainants want to see happen to remedy the situation?
- Other relevant organisations: any other organisation that might have useful information directly relevant to the complaint together with their contact details.
- Local complexities: for example, ethnic, cultural or political issues that will have a bearing on the alleged violation and how it can be investigated.
Is the complaint confidential?
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH wishes all parties to have confidence in the complaint procedures. We therefore deal with complaints in an open and transparent way. Unless there are good reasons not to do so, all information received will be provided to all other parties to the complaint. If there is sensitive information, the preferred course is to agree with all parties on how to deal with this. In principle, details of individual employees or complainants should be provided. However, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH recognises the risk of retaliation facing workers making complaints about their employment conditions, or individuals raising issues related to human rights violations. In these circumstances the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will not disclose the identities of workers to employers to open them up to retaliation, or the names of individuals who may have been subjected to human rights violations, where such disclosure would lead to their likely intimidation or victimisation.
What if the complaint is anonymous?
Ideally, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH would like to contact a complainant and verify the details of any allegation, but we do understand that at times, individuals may wish to make an anonymous complaint. Where anonymous complaints are received, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will investigate and determine whether there are grounds to the complaint. However, in the case of anonymous complaints we will not be able to inform the complainant with the outcome of those investigations, or the actions taken by the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH. If an individual decides to make an anonymous complaint it is important that the complainant provides as much information as possible to substantiate their complaint.
What will happen when a complaint is made?
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s preferred general approach to all complaints is based on an initial assessment of the evidence, followed by an in-depth investigation, and the development of appropriate remedial action(s) in the quickest possible timeframe.
How quickly will complaints be handled?
It is important that complaints are submitted to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH promptly so that breaches of our Standards or any negative human rights impact can be rectified as soon as possible. The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will therefore strive to assess complaints and take expedient action. It’s difficult to set a predetermined fixed timetable as complaints will vary in scale, complexity and geographical origin but most can be dealt with in weeks, rather than months.
What will the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH do when it receives a complaint?
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will acknowledge receipt of a complaint in writing, or verbally if the complaint was received via a telephone call or in a face-to-face meeting with a complainant. The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will then assess whether it can be accepted as a legitimate complaint.
To be accepted, the complaint must:
- Relate to an activity by a cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH business entity or employee, or to a contractor, supplier or licensee which actively involved in the production or supply of products or services to the Group. Where it relates to a product, it must be at a tier of the supply chain that is traceable directly to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH,
- Relate to a breach of the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s Workplace Standards, a breach to a clause in our related guidelines, or a breach of a recognised and codified international human rights norm².
- Contain sufficient information to enable the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH to assess the substance of the complaint. If there is insufficient information provided by the complainant initially, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will ask for additional information or clarification about the nature of the complaint.
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will identify the parties to the complaint. Depending on the nature of the complaint, these parties could include the complainant, the subject of the complaint, rightsholders, workers or others directly affected by the issues raised, groups representing or advocating on behalf of those directly affected, and other actors in the supply chain or in the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s business operations, subsidiaries, or associated business entities. The complainant will be informed whether the complaint has been accepted. If the complaint is not accepted, the reasons will be given to the complainant.
²They include the rights contained in the “International Bill of Human Rights” – meaning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, social and Cultural Rights – together with the internationally-recognised rights set out in the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
Will a complainant have to waive their legal rights?
No. An individual, group or community submitting a complaint are free to pursue their legal rights and access all available judicial mechanisms, in parallel with, or following cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s consideration of their complaint. Pursuing such a course of action may in fact be vital if matters of law, or of legal interpretation, are an important element of a complaint.
What happens if a complaint is accepted for examination?
If the complaint is accepted, all parties will be contacted and briefed on the process. The substance of the complaint and all relevant documents will be examined by the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s Social and Environmental Affairs (SEA) department or by the Group’s Regional Compliance Officers, if it relates directly to our own business operations or the conduct of our own employees. The complaint and SEA’s findings will be communicated to the subject of the complaint and their response will be requested. They will be given a defined period to respond.
How should the subject of the complaint respond?
The subject of the complaint may be a company contracted to supply the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH with goods or services, or it may relate to one of the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s own operating businesses. If the complaint relates to the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s own operations the company’s General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer or the designated Regional Compliance Officers will be immediately informed, as will the head of the relevant business unit.
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will immediately mobilise staff from the SEA department to begin an internal investigation. They will gather information about the complaint, the supplier’s or contractor’s worksite or the practices of the employer of workers providing services. This information will come from on and off-site interviews and an examination of the contractor’s or supplier’s own records. The SEA department may also engage with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders from the local communities and civil society. Where appropriate, or when additional expertise is required, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH may choose to commission an external investigation from an independent third party, or use the services of an independent specialist or, appoint an independent ombudsman or mediator to manage the complaint process.
Whatever method is chosen, the key factor is to ensure the process produces information that enables a fully informed discussion of the complaint, based on the full facts of the case. The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will strive for the process and the information-gathering methodology to be transparent and credible. The SEA department’s findings will be shared with all parties unless there is a strong compelling case for confidentiality.
Resolution at an early stage
It is possible that a complaint is settled early. There may be a formal or legal process that can be pursued e.g., an internal grievance procedure, mediation, or arbitration process, or labour tribunal or other legal procedure that is applicable. The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will encourage those engagements that are practicable and are likely to lead to a result, rather than setting up a parallel process. The subject of the complaint may, based on its own investigations, suggest a remedy which is agreeable to the complainants or the affected parties. Equally the complainants may, based on the information provided by the subject, agree that there is no merit in pursuing the complaint.
Where the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH determines that it has caused or directly contributed to a violation it will undertake to cease or change the activity that is responsible, to prevent or mitigate the chance of the impact occurring or recurring. If an impact is occurring, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will engage actively in its remediation, either directly or in cooperation with others.
Where the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH is neither causing nor directly contributing to a violation it will encourage the entity that has caused or contributed to the impact to prevent or mitigate its recurrence.
In resolving complaints, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will be mindful of the law and legal precedence in the country where a complaint arises. The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will not assume, nor accept, the legal duties or obligations of other parties who may be the subject of a complaint.
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH cannot adjudicate on legal disputes between parties, nor can it determine cases which require the deliberations and decisions of a court, tribunal, or other duly authorised body under national or international law.
How will remedial actions be checked?
Depending on the type of remedial action agreed, the parties will seek to reach agreement on how this is to be monitored and checked to ensure that it is implemented within the agreed timescale. The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s SEA department will normally monitor the implementation of agreed outcomes or will appoint a credible third party to do so.
What happens if there is no agreement between the parties?
If there is no agreement within a reasonable period, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH reserves the right to decide on the outcome of the complaint. It will do this based on the information supplied at all stages of the complaint. The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will communicate its decision and the reasons to all parties. If the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH upholds the complaint, it will institute appropriate action within its contractual rights, if the issue relates to its suppliers, licensees or service providers, or its legal rights and responsibilities if the complaint is directed against a cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH business entity.
While the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will make every effort to facilitate agreed resolutions to legitimate complaints, and do so in partnership with suppliers, licensees and other business partners or providers, and with the full engagement of other stakeholders, this does not affect the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH contractual or legal rights.
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH may cease business with the subject of the complaint in accordance with the terms of the relevant contract or agreement.
How will complaints be communicated publicly?
At the conclusion of the complaint, the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will write a short summary of the complaint and the outcome and share this with the affected parties.
At the end of each year the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will communicate, via its report of the UN Global Compact, how many third-party complaints it has received related to labour or human rights violations and the status of those complaints (i.e., being investigated, successfully resolved, etc.).
The specific details of the complaints or the parties to the complaint will not be disclosed, unless both the complainant and the subject of the complaint have agreed that this to be made public. However, in those cases where an independent third party is retained to investigate a complaint, the terms of their appointment may require that they publicly report their findings and recommended actions, thereby ensuring credibility and transparency.
The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH will not disclose detailed information on any complaint, where it involves or could affect an ongoing legal case.
What happens if any party is unhappy with the way the complaint has been handled?
In the first instance, the party should raise the issue with cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH’s SEA department. SEA will review the case and communicate the information to the Group’s General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer for a final decision.
If the complainant is still dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint and the actions taken by the cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH, then they do have recourse to available judicial processes or other independent complaint processes, as detailed below.
National Contact Points – The cyber-Wear Heidelberg GmbH, as a company headquartered in Germany, is committed to uphold the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations. An English language version can be downloaded here: http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/48004323.pdf.
The Guidelines, which were updated in 2011, include recommendations for responsible business conduct with respect to human rights, environment, as well as other topics.
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are the most important comprehensive international instrument for the promotion of responsible business conduct (RBC). The National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (NCP) promotes the effective implementation of the Guidelines and provides a mediation procedure in cases where a complaint related to the application of the Guidelines is launched.
The relevant contact point for Germany is:
German National Contact Point
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines in Germany (NKS)
+49 (0) 30 18 615 - 7651
Web: BMWK - National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (NCP) -Retaliation Policy