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Ombudsperson

Dr. Stephanie Troßbach serves as an ombudsperson for companies. An ombudsperson, also known as an “ombudsman” or “confidential representative”, independently represents the interests of clients by receiving and addressing reports of potential misconduct, and may also conduct internal investigations.

The role of the ombudsperson is to prevent and uncover violations of the law (and possibly other compliance violations) within companies or organizations. An ombudsperson is thus a component of an effective Compliance Management System (CMS) and of a risk-management strategy.

Further information for companies

Reporting form

This reporting form enables you to submit violations of laws and regulations (only) concerning companies represented by Dr. Stephanie Trossbach.

The ombudsperson represents the client (whether company or organization), not the whistleblower. However, the whistleblower’s protection is ensured by professional secrecy and restrictions on the information which the client can demand from the ombudsperson. The whistleblower’s identity can be disclosed to the client only with the explicit and written consent of the whistleblower. Submitting such a report does not create an attorney-client relationship between Dr. Troßbach and you as a whistleblower.

The submission of a report is free of charge. You can submit your report by name or anonymously. Experience shows that reports submitted by name are usually easier to resolve. If you still wish to remain anonymous, please note that in course of submitting your report, you should not submit any information that directly or indirectly allows conclusions to be drawn about your identity. Also make sure you have a secure Internet connection, which is indicated by the lock symbol in your browser.

Further information for Companies

An ombudsperson can effectively support companies in receiving and processing reports and thus in fulfilling legal requirements. Legal requirements on managing Whistleblowing can be found here:

With passage of the EU Whistleblower Directive, which makes a procedure for dealing with reports from whistleblowers mandatory, the function of an ombudsperson has become even more important.

  • Employers and agencies are obliged by the EU Whistleblower Directive to set up internal reporting offices as soon as they employ more than 50 people from December 17, 2021.
  • The tasks of the internal reporting offices include: operating reporting channels, checking the validity of reports, taking follow-up measures, providing employees with easily accessible and clear information on external reporting procedures.
  • The receipt of a report must be confirmed within seven days of the report. A response must be made within three months.
  • The report must be possible in writing and verbally (telephone, other language transmission and physical meeting within a reasonable time)

Violations of this law (hindering a report, threatening or taking reprisals, refusing to provide information to external reporting offices, disregarding the confidentiality requirement with regard to the persons involved) against this law can be sanctioned with fines of up to one hundred thousand euros.

See the EU Whistleblower Directive

In addition to the EU Whistleblowing Directive, the Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains also requires the establishment of a complaints office or the appointment of an ombudsperson in the course of human rights and environmental due diligence.

  • Companies can either set up an in-house complaints procedure or participate in a corresponding external complaints procedure, provided it meets the criteria.
  • The persons entrusted by the company with the implementation of the procedure must guarantee impartiality; in particular, they must be independent and not bound by instructions. They are bound to secrecy. Confidentiality of identity and data protection must be guaranteed.
  • The company must make clear and comprehensible information publicly available in a suitable manner on how to contact and responsible and how to carry out the complaint procedure.
  • The complaints procedure is set up in such a way that attention can also be drawn to such violations that have arisen through the economic activity of an indirect supplier
  • The effectiveness of the complaint procedure must be checked at least once a year and on an ad hoc basis

See the Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains

The ombudsperson is available to the whistleblower outside the company as a specific contact person and can advise on whether a report should be submitted. The ombudsperson can relieve the represented company through an initial inspection and initial assessment.

The ombudsperson represents the client (company, organization), not the whistleblower, but the protection of the whistleblower is ensured by a legal professional’s duty of confidentiality and a restriction of the right to information vis-à-vis the client.

The appointment of an ombudsperson can supplement or replace commercial whistleblowing systems. The ombudsperson can also offer the use of more extensive electronic whistleblowing systems.
Feel free to contact me to find the right solution for your company: Contact

Communication channels

The following communication channels are generally available for the submission of a report:

  • Individual phone number
  • Personalized e-mail address (e.g., Ombudsman.companyname@catuslaw.com)
  • Contact form website with encrypted transmission
  • Letter
  • Contact via an electronic whistleblower system, if required