Varsling | Helse, miljø og sikkerhet - Ansatt

Whistleblowing guide

Whistleblowing guide

Whistleblowing is to report censurable conditions. OsloMet asks you to report if you discover conditions that are censurable. In this whistleblowing guide, you can read more about whistleblowing and what happens to a notification.
  • Why should I report it?

    OsloMet shall comply with applicable laws and ensure that everyone has a satisfactory working and learning environment. We have a responsibility to investigate all reports and to act if censurable conditions are uncovered. Therefore, it is important that you speak up if you discover censurable conditions. Reports should be treated confidentially, and you should not experience negative consequences (retaliation) for blowing the whistle.

  • What can be reported?

    All censurable conditions can be reported. Censurable conditions mean matters that are contrary to legal rules, written ethical guidelines or ethical norms that are widely supported in society, for example circumstances that may entail:

    • Danger to life or health
    • Danger to climate or environment
    • Corruption or other financial crime
    • Abuse of authority
    • Unacceptable learning or working environment
    • Breach of personal data security (privacy breaches are reported in a separate deviation channel)

    In some cases, you as an employee have a duty to report. This applies to circumstances that may endanger life or health, as well as if you become aware that harassment or discrimination is taking place in the workplace. In case of circumstances or deficiencies that may endanger life and health, it is especially important that you notify us immediately. 

    Matters that only apply to your own study or work are generally not covered by the notification rules, unless they include matters mentioned in the sections above here.

  • How to alert and who can you warn to?

    Whistleblowing shall take place in a proper manner. Notification in accordance with the university's notification routines is always justifiable:

    • Employees and students have the right to report censurable conditions at OsloMet.
    • OsloMet wants all notifications to be sent in writing in our whistleblowing channel, via the whistleblowing button found at the top of the page. This is a secure method of whistleblowing, which also ensures that the alert is handled in the best possible way.
    • Although OsloMet wants the whistleblowing channel to be used to safeguard both the notification and information security, there is no formal requirement as to how it should be reported. It can be notified via SMS, e-mail, post, telephone etc. Employees may notify verbally or in writing in line to their immediate superior or superior. Employees can also report via their safety representative, union representative or other adviser.
    • It is always possible to notify the public supervisory authority, such as the Labour Inspection Authority, the Parliamentary Ombud, the police or the relevant ministry, such as the Ministry of Education and Research.
    • OsloMet encourages caution when it comes to reporting to the public. More detailed conditions relating to reporting to the public can be found in Section 2 A-2 (3) (lovdata.no) of the Working Environment Act.
  • What information should the notification contain?

    A whistleblowing report should contain concrete and clear information about the censurable situation. The notice should describe:

    • What happened? 
    • Who is involved?
    • Where did it happen? 
    • When did it happen?
    • Has it happened multiple times?
    • Was there witnesses present?
    • If you have previously reported the same relationship to others at OsloMet (e.g. manager or rector), it is important that you inform about this.
    • Notification at OsloMet shall normally be processed by the manager at the correct management level. This will normally be the personnel manager of the person to whom the notification applies. Some reports are processed by OsloMet's whistleblowing board, which consists of an external lawyer, a central safety representative and other professional expertise as needed. This applies to reports of a serious nature, which for various reasons cannot be processed in the line at OsloMet. When deciding whether a case should be considered in the line or sent to the whistleblowing board, OsloMet will emphasise the whistleblower's own wishes. If you want the case to be sent directly to the Whistleblowing Board, please state this in the notification along with your reason.

    Attach specific examples and evidence/documentation if available.

  • Principles for whistleblowing management at OsloMet

    The principles that shall guide OsloMet's processing of whistleblowing reports are described below. In addition, OsloMet has prepared a process description for how a report should be processed. This process description can be found in the employee handbook (link to come). There is also a list of concepts explaining various terms used in the investigation of whistleblowing cases. 

    • A whistleblower must be taken seriously and investigated in accordance with OsloMet's whistleblowing routines. It is possible to report anonymously.
    • A notification must be processed within a reasonable time.
    • Retribution is prohibited. This means that you should not experience any form of negative treatment because of reporting incidents. 
    • Impartiality is a fundamental principle for processing whistleblowing. 
    • The person who has been notified must be given access to the information that concerns him or herself and the opportunity to give his or her version of the case (contratiction).
    • Confidentiality must be maintained when processing the report. The identity of the whistleblower and the information in the case must not be known to more people than necessary.
    • OsloMet has a duty of care towards the whistleblower, the person who has been notified and others involved with a connection to the organisation.
    • The whistleblower and the person who has been notified must receive feedback in accordance with OsloMet's whistleblowing routines.
    • Those involved have the right to have a support person with them in conversations. 
    • Notification at OsloMet shall normally be processed by the line manager at the correct management level. This will normally be the personnel manager of the person to whom the notification applies. Some reports are processed by OsloMet's whistleblowing board, which consists of an external lawyer, a central safety representative and other professional expertise as needed. This applies to reports of a serious nature, which for various reasons cannot be processed in the line at OsloMet. When deciding whether a case should be considered in the line or sent to the whistleblowing board, OsloMet will emphasise the whistleblower's own wishes. 
    • Notification of conflicts that are not covered by the scope of the whistleblowing rules shall be handled in accordance with OsloMet's Guidelines for conflict management. 
  • On consideration of cases before the Whistleblowing Tribunal

    OsloMet has a whistleblowing committee that deals with cases that cannot be resolved by the service route. The whistleblowing committee shall be advisory and makes recommendations to the rector in each case.

    In consultation with the whistleblowing board, the chair of the whistleblowing board decides whether, or how, a case should be followed up. A case that has been considered by the tribunal may be closed at any time if the tribunal concludes during its work that there are no censurable conditions.

    The whistleblowing committee is chaired by an external lawyer and currently consists of at least two more members:

    • External member who is an organisational psychologist or psychologist
    • The university's main safety representative or her deputy
    • If necessary, the tribunal can be expanded with the necessary professional expertise.

    For cases considered by the Whistleblowing Board, a report is prepared and submitted to the Rector. The Rector decides how the report is to be followed up and informs the parties to the case of his decision.

  • Important information about anonymity

    It is possible to report anonymously in our whistleblowing channel. If you report anonymously, it is very important that you save the login information you are assigned in the system when the notification is submitted. You need this login information to log into the notification channel. In the whistleblowing channel, OsloMet can communicate with you about the notification if we need more information. 

    You can also report incidents by using your safety representative, trade union or your own lawyer as an intermediary. They can then raise the matter without revealing your identity.

    Although it is possible to report anonymously, it is important to be aware that you may be identified either through information in the report itself or in connection with the investigation of the report. Even if OsloMet knows your identity, it must always be treated confidentially, and OsloMet will not disclose your identity unless this is necessary for the processing of the case. 

    OsloMet may often need more information to follow up the notification. Please note that anonymous whistleblowing may limit OsloMet's ability to follow up or clarify the content of the report, even though we will then attempt to communicate through the whistleblowing channel. 

  • Whistleblower's rights

    You are always entitled to a fully satisfactory working or learning environment, and OsloMet shall ensure that the whistleblower has a fully satisfactory working or learning environment. 

    Retaliation resulting from whistleblowing is prohibited. Retaliation means negative consequences or sanctions because of your reporting. Where necessary, measures appropriate to prevent retaliation shall be provided.

    As a whistleblower, you will not necessarily be a party to the case. This means that you do not necessarily have the right to access the case documents, or to information about what is happening in the case. You always have the right to a confirmation that the notification has been received, and when the case is closed, you will be notified of the outcome. However, the information you receive about the outcome should also safeguard the privacy of those involved.  

    Your identity will not be disclosed unless it is necessary for the processing of the case. Please also note that your identity may be known in the event of a court case.

  • The rights of the person who has been notified and others involved

    When it has been decided that a notified case shall be pursued, the person who has been notified shall be made aware of the notification and the content of the notification.  

    The whistleblower has the right to access the personal data registered about him or her in the case. He also has the right to give his version of the case (the principle of contradiction). The principle of contradiction can sometimes conflict with the principle of confidentiality. In such cases, OsloMet must make a concrete assessment of the various principles. 

    OsloMet has a duty of confidentiality regarding matters that come to light during the processing of the whistleblowing case. OsloMet is not permitted to share the information with anyone other than those who have an official need for the information. 

    The whistleblower is also entitled to a fully satisfactory working and learning environment. OsloMet has a responsibility to safeguard both the person it has been notified of and the others involved. 

    When the case has been processed, the person who has been notified must immediately have information about the outcome of the case.

  • How we process your personal data when processing whistleblowing

    Privacy statement

    This privacy statement describes how we handle your personal data when processing incoming notifications.

    Data controller

    OsloMet is the data controller for the processing of personal data described in this privacy statement.

    Why do we collect and process personal data?

    We collect personal data to investigate whistleblowing in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 2 A of the Working Environment Act and Chapter 4 of the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges.

    Legal basis for processing your personal data

    The legal basis for processing personal data related to the processing of whistleblowing is Article 6 (1) (c) of the General Data Protection Regulation, cf. paragraph 3 letter b and Article 9 (2) (b), cf. Section 2 A-3 of the Working Environment Act and Section 4-3 b of the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges.

    What personal data do we collect and process?

    Which personal data is collected will depend on the content of the individual notification. Most often, we will collect general personal data such as name and contact information, but the scope of personal data is case-dependent. Special categories of personal data may also be collected, if the nature of the case indicates that this is necessary in order to process the report. Special categories of personal data may, for example, be health information or information about trade union affiliation.

    What processing do we do with your personal data?

    Incoming notifications and associated personal data will be registered in our whistleblowing channel when the notification is submitted, and will then be received by the administrator in the system. OsloMet has four administrators in the whistleblowing channel, two of whom act as deputies.

    The notification will then be distributed to the case officer(s), and will then be processed in accordance with OsloMet's routines for processing reports. This may involve assessing the report, obtaining documentation, conducting discussions with those involved and writing a report with a conclusion.

    Personal data that is subject to archiving legislation will be transferred to OsloMet's archive system, where it will be archived in accordance with applicable regulations.

    Where do we obtain your personal data from?

    Your personal data will be obtained from notified, relevant documentation related to the whistleblowing case or through conversations with others involved.

    Is personal data transferred to others?

    If the report is to be processed by OsloMet's whistleblowing board, the information in the notification will be transferred to the external chair of the whistleblowing board.  As of 1 April 2024, the head of the whistleblowing board is lawyer Lill Egeland in the law firm Simonsen Vogt Wiig. The law firm Simonsen Vogt Wiig is responsible for processing the personal data processed at the law firm. Beyond this, personal data will not be transferred to others.

    Security of the processing of your personal data

    There is access control in both OsloMet's whistleblowing channel and OsloMet's archive system. For personal data related to whistleblowing, there are strict procedures for access. Only those with an official need will have access to your personal data.

    All data in the whistleblowing channel and in OsloMet's archive system is protected with appropriate security.

    How long do we store your personal data?

    Personal data related to whistleblowing cases will often be subject to the provisions of archiving legislation. In such cases, the personal data will be archived in accordance with applicable regulations. Data that is not subject to archiving legislation will be deleted when it is no longer required.

    Your rights

    See more about rights related to the right of access, correction and deletion, etc. (link to come)

    Contact

    Contact person for processing personal data is Senior Adviser Tonje Ruderaas, Dept. HR

    Follow the link for information about the data controller, privacy contacts and the data protection officer at OsloMet (link to come).