We use cookies in order to be able to offer you a better online experience. By using our website, you agree that we may place cookies on your device. Data Protection Declaration hide hint

© pichetw - Fotolia.com
Interview with Dr Eric Heitzer

Ombudsperson of the Nagel-Group

Dr Eric Heitzer from Daniel, Hagelskamp & Kollegen acts as external ombudsperson for the Nagel-Group. Employees and external third parties can confidently turn to this neutral person.

Dr Heitzer, you have recently started working as ombudsperson for the Nagel-Group. What are your responsibilities?

We regularly assume the tasks of an external compliance office completely and are then responsible for the entire compliance system of a company with its rules and the related communication with the respective company. For the Nagel-Group, we have taken over a part of this, namely the so-called whistleblower system. This is a special challenge for your company as you operate branches at 16 locations in Europe where different legal systems apply. In concrete terms, we receive information from employees and also external information, check it and submit it to the Nagel-Group. These include in particular information on criminal offences or behaviour harming the company. Then, we check the accuracy of the information, which has been provided anonymously or personally in order to avoid irrelevant or incorrect information.

What kind of information can the Nagel-Group employees contact you with?

The relatively abstract specification is: any relevant violation against applicable rules can be reported. These rules include laws as well as internal regulations of the company, for e. g. in the form of guidelines which the employees could violate. Of course, our focus is on avoiding major offences such as fraud, theft, sabotage, corruption or anti-trust violations. However, the dimension is often not clear to the individual employee, and certainly simple offences can also be the starting point for negative developments which Nagel wants to prevent from the start. In this respect, there are no general restrictions on the quality of a violation and what can be reported to us.

How exactly is anonymity preserved?

If an informant provides us with information and asks not to be associated with it, we certainly respect this wish - even if the informant has told us their name. We are obliged to maintain secrecy due to data protection regulations and also due to lawyer-client privilege. Even at the request of a third party, we will never provide any information on the identity of the informant. It is rather unusual that an informant requests to remain anonymous during the entire exchange of information. Most often, a base of trust is built in the course of the conversation. However, the name of the informant is ultimately not relevant for our work and again: we will not disclose the name to third parties if the informant requests this.

What does the communication with the informant look like after you have received the information?

Upon receipt of the information, we will contact the informant. Either per email, telephone or even in person. The informant determines the form of contact. It often depends on the explosive nature of the information.

What exactly is the process after receipt of the information?

This very much depends on the quality and completeness of the information. If it has substance, the issue will be further processed. Ideally, completely comprehensive information is provided which we can directly submit to the Nagel-Group. However, this is very rarely the case. Normally, there are still questions to be clarified after the receipt of information. This is why we contact the informant. After the exchange of information, we process the provided information for the Nagel-Group. As a company, you would like to have a complete picture in order to react appropriately. We can also assist you with the subsequent assessment of the incident.

Do you process the information from all countries of the Nagel-Group.

Generally, we provide a national contact person with the required language skills and the respective contact data in each country in which you are represented. Since all partner offices are members of the network DIRO, we know most of the colleagues personally and have selected them explicitly according to the demands of the Nagel-Group.

We personally take information in German, English and French, if necessary, even outside the normal office hours, if this is requested.

Do you process the information alone or in a team?

In order to ensure that we are always reachable, I have a team consisting of five persons. All team members are familiar with a specific subject, e. g. criminal law or transport law.

Do you inform the informant on the result of the processing?

The informant has no legal claim on being informed. The company decides on the nature and extent of the feedback and the reaction to the information. We only submit the information entrusted to us.

Headerimage: © pichetw - Fotolia.com

Dr. Heitzer

Dr Eric Heitzer (eric.heitzer@dhk-law.com)
Born in 1965 in Viersen, 52 years old
Lawyer since 1997
1998 - 2010: member of the management board of different telecommunication companies
Amongst others: management of public policy & market regulation
Since 2010: partner at DH & K Rechtsanwälte in Aachen

Subjects:

  • Banking and capital market law
  • Energy law and regulation
  • Telecommunication law and regulation
  • IT and data protection law
  • Competition and anti-trust law
  • Compliance

Recommended by the editors