INTRODUCTION TO THE ETHICAL CHANNEL
Welcome to the Ethical Channel SCHOLAS OCCURRENTES, through which anyone can ask about our Code of Ethics of Conduct or other internal regulations, or make a complaint.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
What is the Ethical Channel?
The ethical channel is an internal mechanism of SCHOLAS that may be used by any person to inform the organization of any breach, irregularity or unlawful act within the scope or to the detriment of the organization. The ethical channel is also used by the parties subject to the Code of Ethics and the internal regulations of SCHOLAS to raise any doubt they may have about the contents and interpretation of said provisions.
Is it possible to file anonymous complaints?
We recommend that the complainant identifies himself/herself by means of his/her name and surname, so that, where appropriate, protective measures may be taken in his/her favor and to make sure that the filing does not entail any retaliation. However, anonymous complaints will be accepted for processing if the Operating Rules of the Ethical Channel are complied with, some evidence is provided, and the complaint is made in good faith.
What guarantees does a person filing an internal complaint have?
First, SCHOLAS guarantees that the processing of complaints will be carried out on a confidential basis, that is, keeping the identity of the complainant secret, and these data may only be disclosed, where appropriate, to public authorities having jurisdiction over the investigation of the events. Second, SCHOLAS guarantees the complainant that no retaliation will be taken against him/her for the mere act of filing a complaint; it’s quite the opposite. All complaints made in good faith and revealing any irregularity that may have been committed within the scope of SCHOLAS will always be accepted. In addition, the complainant has the right to resort to the Compliance Officer and/or the Ethics Committee in order to receive protection, orientation and advice on how to act in order to defend himself/herself from any possible retaliation. Third, the complainant is guaranteed that the processing of his/her complaint will be carried out in a professional manner by specialized personnel.
Is it possible to report an event without having any evidence?
Only complaints based on the existence of rational indications of the commission of any breach, irregularity or unlawful act may be admitted, and therefore, it is essential to support them by means of evidence, preferably documentary evidence. Nevertheless, testimonies —including the complainant’s own testimony— and documents on the reproduction of words, images and sounds are also admitted. In any case, it is important to note that it is essential for the complainant to obtain the evidence in a lawful manner.
What happens if a complaint is false
Complaints must be true, must be made in good faith and must comply with the provisions of the Operating Rules of the Ethical Channel. Any party filing false complaints may incur in the crimes of slander and libel. SCHOLAS may adopt the corresponding legal measures against the person who makes a false or bad-faith complaint, and in the case of false complaints, it may even disclose to the person or entity reported the data of the person who has made the false complaint, so that it may bring any legal action deemed appropriate against him/her.
Is the complainee informed that there is a complaint filed against him/her?
Yes. The law requires that the complainee be aware that a complaint has been filed against him/her, and therefore, as soon as the appropriate checks and inquiries have been made and, in any case, within one month after the receipt of the complaint, the company will inform the complainee of the existence of the complaint and of a summary of the events reported. However, it is important to keep in mind that, except in cases of false complaints, the complainant will not be given the personally identifiable information of the complainant.
Is there a deadline for processing an internal complaint?
The filing of an internal complaint, if admitted for processing, will result in the opening of a file for the purpose of clarifying the event or events reported. As established in the Operating Rules of the Ethical Channel, the period for processing said file may not be greater than three (3) months from the date of its opening.
What consequences may an internal complaint have if it is proven that there are rational indications of any breach, irregularity or unlawful act committed?
In such cases, first of all, SCHOLAS will immediately take all necessary measures to put an end to such acts or to prevent them from occurring. Then, depending on the seriousness of the events, the company may also decide to bring the corresponding legal actions against the party or parties presumably responsible therefor, filing the corresponding criminal complaint, report or claim before the Courts of Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office or the State Security Forces and Bodies.
OPERATING RULES OF THE ETHICAL CHANNEL
ONE.- Purpose of the Ethical Channel
The Ethical Channel is the tool provided by “SCHOLAS OCCURRENTES” (hereinafter, “SCHOLAS”)), domiciled in Madrid, at C/ Hortaleza, 48. 1º, Madrid (28,001 – Spain), holder of Spanish Tax ID (NIF) No. G-87291365, so that any person or entity subject to its Code of Ethics may ask questions about the SCHOLAS Code of Ethics and the internal protocols applicable to them, and where appropriate, so that any person may file an internal complaint for any breach, irregularity or unlawful act allegedly committed within the scope of SCHOLAS or to the detriment of this organization, always in accordance with these Operating Rules of the Ethical Channel (“Operating Rules”).
TWO.- Queries on the SCHOLAS regulatory compliance system
Any person or entity to which the SCHOLAS Code of Ethics is applicable, in accordance with the provisions of section VIII thereof (“Ethical Channel”), may raise any doubt it may have about the regulatory compliance system of SCHOLAS through the online query form, which may be accessed through the Ethical Channel.
THREE.- Basic principles of action for filing internal complaints
All parties who decide to file a complaint through the Ethical Channel must do so in good faith, with full respect for the truth and with the conviction of acting correctly and only for the benefit of SCHOLAS and/or society in general.
The filing of false complaints is expressly prohibited, since they are contrary to the law and the principles and values of SCHOLAS.
FOUR.- Reportable events
The alleged commission of any breach, irregularity and unlawful act within the scope of SCHOLAS or to the detriment of the latter may be reported through the Ethical Channel (hereinafter, the “Hechos Denunciables” in its plural form or the “Hecho Denunciable” in its singular form).
FIVE.- Potential complainees
An internal complaint may be filed through the Ethical Channel against any person or entity incurring in a Reportable Event, as set forth in the previous section.
SIX.- Potential complainants
An internal complaint may be filed by any person who has knowledge of the commission of a Reportable Event, regardless of its relationship with SCHOLAS.
SEVEN.- Administrative bodies of the Ethical Channel
Regulatory Compliance Officer («Compliance Officer»)
The Compliance Officer will be entrusted with the following duties:
i. To manage the Ethical Channel, receiving the queries and internal complaints made;
ii. To inform the SCHOLAS Ethics Committee about the queries and internal complaints made through the Ethical Channel;
iii. To accept or reject the complaints for their processing;
iv. To investigate the files arising from the complaints made, unless the Ethics Committee decides to appoint another person or entity for that purpose, maintaining the confidentiality of the complainant who has chosen to identify himself/herself by means of his/her name and surname;
v. To serve as a liaison between the complainant and the complainee or complainees; and
vi. To cooperate in the execution of the legal, technical, organizational, training or any other measures decided by the SCHOLAS Ethics Committee in response to the internal complaints filed.
SCHOLAS Ethics Committee
The main duties of this body in relation to the Ethical Channel are as follows:
i. To appoint the person or entity that will investigate the files arising from the internal complaints; and
ii. To issue the corresponding decisions regarding internal complaints, as provided for in Section 8.7 of these Reporting Principles.
The Ethics Committee will be the body responsible for proposing the adoption of the corresponding protective, corrective and sanctioning measures in each case to the SCHOLAS management.
This body depends on and reports directly to the Global Directors of SCHOLAS, who will be responsible for ensuring its independence and effectiveness; proposing the selection, appointment, re-election and dismissal of the members of the Ethics Committee; proposing the corresponding budget; regularly receiving information on its activities; and verifying that SCHOLAS takes into account the conclusions and recommendations of its reports.
EIGHT.- Procedure for processing complaints
All internal complaints must contain at least the events reported, specifying, as far as possible, the violation allegedly committed.
The complainant may identify himself/herself by means of his/her name and surname or may file the complaint on an anonymous basis, at his/her option. In the event that the complainant chooses to identify himself/herself by means of his/her name and surname, confidentiality is guaranteed in the processing of the data, in such a manner that only the Compliance Officer of the Ethical Channel and the SCHOLAS Ethics Committee, whenever it is necessary to adopt measures to protect the complainant, or public authorities having jurisdiction over the matter will have access thereto. In the second case, the adoption by said authorities of the same measures to safeguard the confidentiality and protection of the complainant will be requested.
Complaints may only be filed in Spanish or English and in writing, either by completing the online form provided for this purpose or by mail, preferably certified and with acknowledgment of receipt requested, to the following address:
C/ Hortaleza, 48
28.004 – Madrid
Internal complaints may not be filed by phone or email, nor by any channel other than those established in these Rules.
Any person filing a complaint must have rational evidence to support it, and thus his/her complaint must be accompanied by any evidence proving the facts, at least on a preliminary basis.
Any evidence permitted by law, preferably documentary evidence, will be considered valid, although testimonies —including the complainant’s own testimony— and documents on the reproduction of words, images and sounds will also be admitted.
In any case, all evidence must have been obtained by the complainant in a lawful manner, that is, pursuant to law and all constitutional rights and guarantees.
8.3. Admission for processing
Complaints will only be admitted for processing if they comply with the provisions of these Operating Rules.
8.4. Correction of defects
In the event that a rectifiable defect has been incurred in when filing the complaint, the Compliance Officer will inform the complainant who has identified himself/herself by means of his/her name and/or surname of the need to correct the defect within a period of ten (10) business days, which will start on the day after the notice is made. The complainant will be warned that, if the defect is not corrected within the period set forth, the complaint may be dismissed.
8.5. Dismissal of complaints
If a complaint does not comply with the provisions of these Operating Rules, for whatever reason, or if any possible defect is not corrected, either because there was no response to the notice by the Compliance Officer provided for in the preceding section or because the complaint is anonymous, the complaint will be dismissed.
8.6. Opening of files
If a complaint is admitted for processing, the SCHOLAS Ethics Committee will appoint an investigator, who will be the Compliance Officer, in principle, or an external person or entity specialized in the matter.
The person or entity appointed as investigator will proceed to open a file in which it may carry out as many proceedings as deemed appropriate and in which it may gather as many pieces of evidence as deemed necessary for the proper clarification and determination of the events.
Once the file is processed, the investigator will write a report that will be sent to the Ethics Committee to propose the corresponding measures to the SCHOLAS management in accordance with the provisions of Section 8.7.
The period for processing the file may not be greater than three (3) months from the date of the complaint.
8.7. Decisions on internal complaints
Decisions on internal complaints will be issued by SCHOLAS management upon proposal by the Ethics Committee, and they may include some of the following:
1. To enforce the corresponding disciplinary measures in accordance with applicable labor regulations.
2. To adopt the corresponding contractual measures when the events affect the maintenance or fulfillment of a civil or business relationship.
3. To take actions to compensate any damages caused to any potential injured party.
4. To inform the events to the corresponding court or administrative authorities.
5. To propose the adoption of technical, organizational, training or any other measures to prevent the reported events from occurring again in the future.
8.8. Notification to the complainee or complainees
The complainee or complainees will have the right to know that a complaint has been filed against them and must be notified of the existence of the complaint and of a summary of the events reported within a period of one (1) month from the date on which the complaint was received.
No notice made to the complainee or complainees will include the complainant’s data, in accordance with the provisions set forth herein in Rule Six.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, when there is a risk that notification to the complainee may jeopardize the ability of SCHOLAS to effectively investigate the complaint, such notification may be postponed by means of a grounded resolution by the Ethics Committee for as long as such risk exists. The rationale for this exceptional power of the Ethics Committee is to preserve the evidence by preventing its tampering or destruction by the complainee or by third parties.
8.9. Notification to the complainant
Within a period not greater than three (3) months from the filing of the complaint, a notice will be sent to the complainant on the progress of his/her complaint.
In the event that the complainant identifies himself/herself by means of his/her name and surname when making the complaint or at a later time, provided that the complaint has been made in good faith and in compliance with these Operating Rules, the processing of the complaint will be made on a confidential basis, that is, keeping the identity of the complainant strictly confidential and secret.
The complainant’s data may only be disclosed, where appropriate, to the public authorities having jurisdiction over the investigation of the events.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if it is evident that a complaint is false as a result of the investigation carried out, or if the complainant has acted in bad faith or in violation of these Operating Rules, regardless of the legal measures that could be taken by SCHOLAS in this regard, the data on the complainant may be disclosed to the complainee so that he/she may bring in turn any corresponding legal action considered appropriate against him/her.
TEN.- No retaliation
Any retaliation, threats and coercion against parties who file internal complaints, including those made in bad faith, without prejudice to the actions that may be applicable to this case and that are determined by the competent body, are strictly prohibited.
In order to guarantee the above, all complainants will have the right to resort to the Compliance Officer or to any member of the Ethics Committee in order to obtain advice and protection against any possible retaliation that he/she may be suffering due to the mere act of filing an internal complaint.
“SCHOLAS OCCURRENTES” (hereinafter, “SCHOLAS”), domiciled in Madrid, Barceló, at C/ Hortaleza, 48. 1, Madrid (28,001 – Spain), holder of Spanish Tax ID (NIF) No. G-87291365, hereby informs the users of the Ethical Channel (hereinafter, the “Users”) that the personal data transmitted through the Ethical Channel will be processed for the purpose of managing queries on the regulatory compliance system and the complaints that are filed internally regarding any breach, irregularity or unlawful act allegedly committed within the scope of SCHOLAS.
The lawfulness of the processing of personal data arises from the legitimate interest of SCHOLAS in ensuring ethical and regulatory compliance within the organization, as well as in the consent of the Users regarding their personally identifiable information when they choose to identify themselves.
The personal data subject to processing will be all those transmitted through the electronic form or by mail, as well as the IP data of the User’s device in the case of electronic communications.
The data will be kept in the complaint system only for the time necessary to decide on the adequacy of starting an investigation into the reported events.
In any case, the data will be deleted from the complaint system after three (3) months from introduction thereof, unless they are kept so that the legal person may prove the operation of the crime prevention model.
Upon expiration of the period mentioned above, the data may continue to be processed by the corresponding SCHOLAS officers in charge of investigating the events reported in order to process the internal investigation measures that are necessary and, where appropriate, to apply the disciplinary, contractual or court measures that are deemed appropriate.
Personal data may be transmitted to the State Security Forces and Bodies, to other Public Administration bodies with powers in the investigation of the events reported and to the Courts of Justice and other judicial bodies.
SCHOLAS undertakes to respect the confidentiality of the data transmitted through the Ethical Channel and to use them in accordance with its purpose, as well as to comply with its obligation to safeguard them and adapt all measures to avoid any unauthorized alteration, processing, access or loss under current regulations. In particular, SCHOLAS will maintain the confidentiality of the data on the Users who file internal complaints and decide to identify themselves, preventing access to such data by the persons against which the complaint is filed.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that a complaint turns out to be false, Users are advised that their data may be informed to the party or parties reported, so that they may bring any legal action that they deem appropriate to defend themselves regarding the false complaint.
The owners of personal data transmitted through the ethical channel may exercise, in their own regard, the rights acknowledged in regulations on the protection of personal data and, in particular, the rights of access, correction, deletion, challenge, portability and processing limitation.
The rights referred to in the preceding paragraph may be exercised by each holder upon request by email to email@example.com or by regular mail to:
C/ Hortaleza, 48
28.004 – Madrid
For the exercise of any of the rights indicated above, the request must include:
a. Name and surname of the interested party, photocopy of the national identity document, passport or any other valid ID document of the interested party and, where appropriate, of his/her representative as well as the document proving such representation.
b. Petition serving as basis for the request.
c. Domicile for notices, and date and signature of the requesting party.
d. Documents justifying the petition made, if applicable.
Finally, all interested parties are hereby informed that they have the right to submit any claim that they deem appropriate before the State Agency for Data Protection, which is located in Madrid (28,001), at C/ Jorge Juan, No. 6.
For more complete and detailed information on these rights, visit the website of the Spanish Agency for Data Protection or contact the agency through its citizen service by phone at 901.100.099.