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Whistleblowing – if you suspect misconduct

If you suspect or have knowledge about irregularities or misconduct that occur at Chalmers, we want you to tell us about it so that we can investigate and remedy the problems. So-called whistleblowers are important to be able to protect openness and transparency in our society.

Chalmers strives counteract corruption and other irregularities. So-called whistleblowers play a central role in safeguarding and promoting important values in a democratic society, such as openness and transparency. Chalmers internal reporting channel is part of the organization’s work to prevent and detect malpractice and to protect whistleblowers, who report malpractice. 

Report here if you suspect misconduct
or call: 0771-40 16 52.

Whistleblowers are strongly protected by law in the Whistleblower Act, but for this to apply, some conditions must be fulfilled regarding what irregularities or misconduct in public interest actually is and who can report it. Below is detailed information on this and more:

What can be reported?
The whistleblowing must refer to work-related irregularities in which there is a public interest in them being resolved. The information must therefore concern the public and not the reporting person's own working or employment conditions. Conditions that concern an individual may in some cases be of general interest if, for example, they are repeated or systematic violations that can be considered unacceptable from a broader societal perspective. 

Whistleblowing may also refer to violations of certain EU rules and Swedish rules that implement or supplement the EU rules. The EU rules covered are listed in Annex 1 to Directive (EU) 2019/1936 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons reporting infringements of Union law, which is available here.The reporting person does not need to have actual evidence, as reasonable concerns or suspicions are sufficient.
What should not be reported?
The reporting channels should not be used for:
  • General expressions of dissatisfaction. Such matters must be communicated to the immediate manager or the responsible manager.
  • Accidents and incidents. These incidents are reported to your immediate manager and the work environment function https://intranet.chalmers.se/arbeta-pa-chalmers/arbetsmiljo-miljo/incidentrapport-vid-olycka-eller-tillbud/incidentrapport/
  • Disciplinary matters. These are handled by the Disciplinary Committee.
  • Harassment and sexual harassment. This is reported via Safe at Chalmers
  • Suspicion of misconduct in research. Such matters are reported to the Ethics and Research Integrity Committee (EOC).
  • Reporting of security protection classified information in accordance with the Protection Security Act (2018: 585)​ or other information concerning national security

Who can report and get protection
The persons protected by the Whistleblower Act are persons with a so-called work-related context to the business. These are employees or other persons who in one way or another are active in or in connection with the business where the malpractice occurs. It also includes part-time employees, jobseekers and people who have terminated their employment. 

To be able to report with the protection of the Whistleblower Act are:
(a) an employee
(b) persons who make an application for or seek employment, 
(c) persons seeking or performing voluntary work, 
d) persons applying for or completing an internship, 
(e) persons who are otherwise available to perform or perform work under the control and direction of an operator;
(f) self-employed persons seeking or performing assignments;
(g) persons who are available to be or are part of the administrative, management or supervisory body of an undertaking;
h) shareholders who are available to be or who are active in the limited liability company, or
i) persons who have belonged to one of the categories of persons above and have received or obtained the information during the time in the activity.

The reporting person indicates affiliation with one of the groups above in connection with reporting.

​What the protection entails
The protection entails that it is forbidden for Chalmers University of Technology to:
a)Preventive action may consist of the business operator offering a benefit to someone not to consult with their workers' organisation.
b)Retaliation is, for example, dismissal, non-promotion, changed work tasks, changed workplace, salary reduction and changed working hours.
c)Protection in the form of discharge means that anyone who, by blowing a whistle according to the law, violates a duty of confidentiality, cannot be held liable for having violated the duty of confidentiality.

For protection in the form of discharge, it is required that the reporting person had reasonable grounds to assume that the reporting of precisely the information that was covered by the duty of confidentiality was necessary to reveal the misconduct.

Discharge is not granted in the event of intentional breach of such a duty of confidentiality which according to the Secrecy Act (OSL) restricts the right to disclose and publish information under the Freedom of the Press Act (TF) or the Freedom of Expression Act (YGL), so-called qualified duty of confidentiality, or breach of duty of confidentiality according to the Defence Inventions Act (1971: 1078).​ 

Discharge is also not granted when a reporting person discloses documents. Discharge, on the other hand, applies if the reporting person orally or otherwise reports information from a document without disclosing the document. If the reporting person commits a crime by obtaining information, the person is not protected. Crimes that can typically be committed in connection with theft are theft, unlawful intrusion, data intrusion, espionage or an unauthorized position with secret information.

Who administers the whistleblower system?
Chalmers’s internal reporting channel is a secure system provided by the KPMG AB ("KPMG"). KPMG's Whistleblower Service is completely independent of Chalmers intranet and chalmers.se and can receive reports around the clock.
The reporting person may choose to report anonymously or to appear with their personal information. No account registration is required to make a report, but it further facilitates the investigation of the case and/or follow-up of the status of the case. To ensure the anonymity of the reporting person, KPMG AB does not save IP addresses or other metadata. The system also protects the report and any information about the person or persons whose identity appears in the report.

How does reporting work?
  1.  A report is submitted by the person who wants to report by filling in an electronic form in the external Whistleblower Service Portal. Reporting can also be done via voicemail or a personal meeting. If you want to report via a meeting you request that through the Whistleblower Service portal. 
  2. The reporting person is assigned a unique case number and password, in case the reporting person wishes to continue the dialogue and / or follow the status of the case through the portal. The information needs to be saved securely.
  3. KPMG's reviewer unit receives the case (and send a confirmation to the reporting person that the report has been received if the person who reported it has created an account for further contact or provided contact information in another way).
  4. KPMG’s reviewer unit makes an initial assessment of the case.
  5. The report and the initial assessment are forwarded to the pre-determined contact persons within Chalmers for further handling and action planning. 
  6. Chalmers decides on any remediation measures.
  7. Feedback is provided to the person who reported, if the person has created an account or provided contact information in another way.

Right to confirmation and feedback
Within seven days from reporting, the reporting person receives a confirmation from KPMG that the report has been received if it is not the case that the reporting person has renounced this confirmation or if there is reason to believe that a confirmation would reveal the person's identity. KPMG provides reasonable feedback to the reporting person on what action has been taken and why, within three months from the time of reporting (or if no confirmation of receiving the report has been provided, seven days after the report has been received).

Different ways to report irregularities
The Whistleblower Function is not intended to replace other reporting channels but serves as a complement to these. The person who wants to report a misconduct can choose the reporting channel that is most appropriate depending on the circumstances and their own assessment of the risk of retaliation. Other possible channels are:
  • Internal reporting in other ways (for example, the immediate manager, the Disciplinary Committee, the Ethics and Research Integrity Committee, Safe at Chalmers).
External reporting via channel. 
  • Whistleblowers are given the opportunity to report externally to authorities specifically appointed by the government. External reporting channels have been established for the purpose of handling reporting on violations that fall within a certain authority's area of responsibility. It can be used, for example, if the whistleblower does not believe in an objective handling when reporting to the internal reporting channel. It is up to the whistleblower to choose whether to report internally or externally and it is possible to report directly to an external reporting channel without first reporting internally. External reporting does not restrict whistleblower protection, regardless of whether the reporting concerns an issue that falls outside the authority's area of responsibility or not. The external authorities appointed by the government is stated in SFS 2021:949. External reporting to EU institutions,
  • If a misconduct concerns av violation of EU law it can be reported to one of the appointed EU institutions. 
Publication
  • If reporting takes place via publication, one of the following conditions must exist for the person to be protected by the Whistleblower Act:
  • an authority that has an external reporting channel has breached its duty to take action;
  • that the malpractice involves a risk to life and health or;
  • that the reporting person has reasonable cause to believe that there is a risk of retaliation.
  • Freedom of information and freedom of acquisition
Freedom of the Press Act (TF) or the Freedom of Expression Act (YGL)
  • there are regulations on freedom of information and freedom of acquisition. Freedom of information is the right, but not the obligation, of every citizen to provide information on any subject for publication and publication in constitutionally protected media. This right also applies to a certain extent to classified information such as information from non-public documents. Freedom of acquisition can be seen as an extension of the freedom of information and gives the right to acquire the information for the purpose of publishing or publishing it.

There are also regulations in TF and YGL on exemptions from the freedom of information as it is not permitted to provide information if this constitutes certain serious violations of national security or certain other crimes directed against the state.
  • Prohibition of investigations and prohibition of retaliation
  • The ban on investigations means that authorities or other public bodies may not investigate who has given a certain message to the media on the basis of freedom of information. A recipient of such information has a duty of confidentiality regarding the identity of the informant and a violation of the prohibition on investigation is punishable. Furthermore, there is a whistleblower protection for public employees that takes effect when the freedom of information has been exercised. This means a so-called prohibition of retaliation for the employer to punish the person who used his or her freedom of information.

Further readings

Page manager Published: Fri 19 Aug 2022.