Data protection policy
We take data protection and confidentiality very seriously and adhere to the provisions of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR) as well as current national data protection regulations. Please read this data protection information carefully before submitting a report.
Purpose of the whistleblowing system and legal basis
The whistleblowing system (BKMS® Incident Reporting) serves the purpose of securely and confidentially receiving, processing and managing reports regarding severe violations of antitrust law, corruption and bribery, conflicts of interest, fraud and financial reporting concerns, employment-related matters and other material violations of ZF Group policies or law. For the purposes of this policy, personal data means any information – either alone or in combination with other information we obtain – that relates to you as an identified or identifiable individual.
The processing of personal data in the BKMS® Incident Reporting is based (1) on the legitimate interests of our company to detect and prevent misconduct and thus avoid damage to the ZF Group, its employees and customers; and (2) on compliance with legal obligations we are subject to. Article 6 (1) (c) and (f) EU-GDPR serve as legal bases for this data processing.
Any abuse or misuse of the whistleblowing system, e.g. by maliciously submitting false statements against others, can result in disciplinary measures and/or legal prosecution.
The party responsible for data protection in the whistleblowing system is ZF Friedrichshafen AG. ZF Friedrichshafen AG can be contacted either via postal mail at Löwentaler Str. 20, 88046 Friedrichshafen, Germany, electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at +49 7541 77-0.
The reporting system is operated by a specialised company, Business Keeper AG, Bayreuther Str. 35, 10789 Berlin in Germany, on behalf of ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Personal data and information entered into the reporting system are stored in a database operated by Business Keeper AG in a high-security data centre. Only ZF Friedrichshafen AG has access to the data. Business Keeper AG and other third parties do not have access to the data. This is ensured in the certified procedure through extensive technical and organisational measures (further details at https://www.business-keeper.com/en/).
All data are stored encrypted with multiple levels of password protection so that access is restricted to a very small selection of expressly authorised persons at ZF Friedrichshafen AG and its subsidiaries (“ZF Group”).
ZF Friedrichshafen AG has appointed a data protection officer. Questions on data protection can be sent to Mr. Josef Hermes, the Group DPO, at Löwentaler Str. 20, 88046 Friedrichshafen, or electronically at email@example.com.
Type of the collected personal data
Use of the reporting system takes place on a voluntary basis. If a whistleblower submits a report via the whistleblowing system, we collect the following personal data and information that he/she chooses to provide:
- the whistleblower's name, if the person chooses to reveal his/her identity,
- whether he/she is employed at the ZF Group, and
- the names of persons and other personal data of persons named in the report.
We will also collect any further information the whistleblower wants to provide us with, including personal data. However, after a preliminary review of the submitted allegations we will limit the processing of the personal data to the data strictly and objectively necessary to verify the allegations.
Confidential handling of reports, recipients of data and international data transfers
Incoming reports are received by a small selection of expressly authorised and specially trained employees of the Compliance organization of the ZF Group and are always handled confidentially. The employees of the Compliance organization of the ZF Group will assess the matter and make a decision on the next steps to be taken in order to protect the company.
During the processing of a report or the conduction of a special investigation, it may become necessary to share information and reports with additional employees of ZF Friedrichshafen AG or employees of other group companies, e.g. if the reports refer to incidents in subsidiaries or if the subject of the reported matter relates to a different department, in which case the investigation and reporting may be handled by such other department(s) within the ZF Group. It may also become necessary to share information and reports, including the whistleblower's identity in case he/she has chosen to disclose it to us, with external service providers (as e.g. lawyers, auditors, etc.) or with public officials (as e.g. prosecutors, judges, etc.) in order to protect the ZF Group. This may include sharing of information to employees of ZF Group or other third parties in countries outside the European Union or the European Economic Area. We always ensure that the applicable data protection regulations are complied with when sharing reports and that said reports are only transferred to countries that have adequate data protection standards as per the European Commission's specifications. Alternatively, the reports will only be transferred after implementation of appropriate safeguards to adequately protect the whistleblower's personal data and the personal data of the persons named in the report and secure that such data transfers are in compliance with applicable data protection laws. ZF Group has implemented agreements based on EU model clauses to cover international data transfers. A copy of these agreements can be obtained by contacting the ZF DPO.
Access to the information will only be granted on a strict need-to-know basis.
Information of the accused person
As a basic principle we are bound by law to inform the accused persons that we have received a report concerning them unless this threatens further investigations into the report, i.e. where there is substantial risk that such notification would jeopardise the ability of the company to effectively investigate the allegation or gather the necessary evidence, notification to the incriminated individual may be delayed as long as such risk exists.
Rights of the data subjects
According to European data protection law, the whistleblower and the persons named in the report have the right to inquiry, rectification, erasure and restriction of processing.
The whistleblower and the persons named in the report also have the right to object to processing of personal data concerning them.
If the right of objection is claimed, we will immediately examine to what extent the stored data is still necessary for the processing of a report. Data that is no longer required is deleted immediately. In addition, the whistleblower and the persons named in the report have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority.
These rights can be exercised at any time by contacting the Group DPO. However, the exercise of these rights may be restricted in order to ensure the protection of the rights and freedoms of others involved in the particular case. Under no circumstances can the person accused in a whistleblower's report obtain information about the identity of the whistleblower on the basis of his or her right of access to data, except where the allegations made reveal themselves as maliciously made false statements or if the whistleblower consents into such disclosure.
Retention period of personal data
Personal data is retained for as long as necessary to clarify the situation and perform an evaluation of the report or a legitimate interest of the company exists or it is required by law.
As a general rule, personal data will be deleted within two months of completion of the investigation of the facts alleged in the report. In the event that legal proceedings or disciplinary measures are initiated against the incriminated person or against the whistleblower in cases of false or slanderous declaration, personal data will be kept until the conclusion of these proceedings and the period allowed for any appeal. Such retention periods are determined by the applicable national law. Additionally, personal data will be stored as long as the applicable statutory provisions, e.g. relating to data archiving in a company, require us to do so.
Personal data relating to allegations found to be unsubstantiated will be deleted without delay.
Use of the reporting portal
Communication between the computer used to submit a whistleblower report and the reporting system takes place over an encrypted connection (SSL). The IP address will not be stored during the use of the reporting system. In order to maintain the connection between the whistleblower's computer and the BKMS® Incident Reporting, a cookie is stored on the computer that merely contains the session ID (a so-called null cookie). This cookie is only valid until the end of the session and expires once the browser is closed.
It is possible to set up a postbox within the reporting system that is secured with an individually chosen pseudonym / user name and password. This allows to send reports to the responsible employee of the Corporate Compliance team at ZF Group either by name or in an anonymous, safe way. This system only stores data inside the reporting system, which makes it particularly secure. It is not a form of regular e-mail communication.
Note on sending attachments
When submitting a report or an addition, it is possible to simultaneously send attachments to the responsible employee of the Corporate Compliance team of ZF Group. Before submitting an anonymous report it should be paid attention to the following security advice: Files can contain hidden personal data that could compromise the whistleblower's anonymity. This data should be removed before sending. If manually removing the data is not feasible, we recommend to copy the text of the attachment into the whistleblower report text or send the printed document anonymously to the address listed in the footer, citing the reference number received at the end of the reporting process.