The whistleblower scheme

The whistleblower scheme at Aarhus University is intended to make it easier to report suspicions or knowledge of unlawful activities,serious incidents of bullying and harassment or other serious offences without the risk of reprisals.

The scheme supplements the normal channels for reporting offences and concerns, for example informing one’s manager or reporting suspicions of breach of responsible conduct of research to the Research Practice Committee.

Report information

Whistleblowers wishing to report information can use the button below to access and fill out a form provided by the law firm Plesner. Plesner administers the whistleblower scheme on behalf of Aarhus University and will clarify whether the information submitted qualify for consideration under the whistleblower scheme. This is crucial in light of the special protection afforded by the Danish Act on the Protection of Whistleblowers to the different categories of persons, including employees, who report information of offences covered by the scheme.

After Plesner has assessed whether a report meets the criteria for the whistleblower scheme, it will be sent to the whistleblower unit at Aarhus University for consideration. The whistleblower unit receives all reports submitted to Plesner, regardless of whether they are covered by the whistleblower scheme or not. The unit includes lawyers from the Rector’s Office as well as representatives from the faculties and AU HR.


What kinds of reports are covered by the whistleblowing scheme?

No precise or specific criteria have been set for the kinds of offences that qualify for consideration under the whistleblowing scheme. However, the reports must concern serious offences, which have taken place or are likely to take place. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Breach of duty of confidentiality
  • Misspending of funds
  • Theft
  • Serious forms of harassment
  • Serious or repeated violations of the principles of administrative law.

Who can use the scheme?

According to the law, the following groups are eligible to report information under Aarhus University’s whistleblower scheme:

  • Employees (current, former or future)
  • Volunteers
  • Interns
  • External collaboration partners, on the condition that they are independent contractors or working under the supervision and management of e.g. contracting parties
  • Executive management and board members.

Students are not eligible to report information under the scheme. This is because it is not possible to ensure students’ anonymity and confidentiality under the whistleblower law. However, students who are employed by or work for AU on a volunteer basis are eligible due to this relationship.

While it is possible to report information anonymously, Aarhus University encourages whistleblowers to state their name in connection with a report for a faster and more agile management of the case. In cases with e.g. (sexual) harrassment it will not be possible to manage the case with knowing the name of the offended.

 

What kind of protection against reprisals does the scheme offer?

Under the law, the identity of whistleblowers and other information in the report is confidential. In addition, it is not possible to request access to a whistleblower’s report under freedom of information or GDPR rules.

However, this protection only applies to reports which Plesner assesses as qualifying for the scheme. This means that reports submitted by persons to whom the scheme does not apply are not protected under the scheme. The same applies to reports about offences not covered by the scheme.

What happens after a report is submitted?

The reports received from Plesner are screened by lawyers at the Rector’s Office. They are then forwarded to the relevant representative from the whistleblower unit at one of the faculties or AU HR (as a representative of the central administration),or are dealt with by the Rector’s Office.

Once the report has been forwarded to the appropriate person, the case officer responsible for the case will perform an initial assessment, including whether it is necessary to involve others in clarifying, investigating and handling the case.

The responsible case officer informs the person the report concerns (‘the affected person’) as soon as possible. If the report is covered by the whistleblower scheme, the affected person will as a rule be informed in a way that protects the confidentiality of the whistleblower.

The responsible case officer ensures that the whistleblower receives feedback on the report as quickly as possible, and as a rule within three months of receipt.

If a report does not qualify for the whistleblower scheme, the lawyers at the Rector’s Office will assess whether there are grounds for a closer examination of the employee’s concerns outside the whistleblower unit.

Read more in the whistleblower policy