Speak Up Policy

Speak Up Policy

What is it?

At Softline we have a culture of honesty and openness. If you witness or suspect any wrongdoing or unethical conduct at work, please report it. Your feedback could prevent wrongdoing which may damage Softline’s reputation or performance and could even save people from harm.

Softline truly values the help of employees and third parties acting on behalf of Softline who identify and Speak Up about potential concerns that need to be addressed. Speaking up is encouraged. You will not suffer for raising concerns in good faith, and we will not tolerate any form of retaliation against you for speaking up.

Speak Up is the disclosure of information which relates to suspected wrongdoing, unethical conduct or dangers connected to work or the Softline business. The aim of this policy is to ensure that employees or any third parties acting on behalf of Softline can raise concerns about any suspected wrongdoing or unethical conduct without fear of reprisals.

Who does it apply to?

It applies to all Softline employees operating at any level of the organisation and in any country across the world, as well as all third parties acting on behalf of Softline including suppliers, secondees, advisors, agency workers, contractors and other companies.

What sort of things should be reported?

You should report any potential breach of the Corporate Ethics and Compliance Code or any other Softline company policy or the law. There are many examples of potential activities which may relate to suspected wrongdoing or dangers connected to work and these may include:

  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Human rights violations
  • Discrimination or harassment
  • Violations of competition laws and rules
  • Money laundering or violations of sanction laws and export regulations
  • Inadequate financial or non-financial recordkeeping
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Environmental, health and safety issues
  • Improper use of company resources
  • Insider trading
  • Disclosure of confidential information
  • Infringement of data protection regulations
  • Violations of any of our (other) policies
  • Retaliation against anyone for speaking up in good faith.

Do not use this policy:

  • To report events presenting an immediate threat to life or property. If you need emergency assistance, please contact your local authorities or call your country’s emergency phone number.
  • For any grievances in relation to your terms of employment.
  • To settle personal or legal disputes.
  • To make accusations which you know are false. Doing so may lead to disciplinary measures.

If you're considering reporting a matter it is your responsibility to ensure that any report is made in good faith and you have reason to believe that the allegation is true. When reporting a concern, you're encouraged to provide as much information as possible, including names, dates, places, and details of the events that took place.

How to raise a concern

Option 1: Tell your line manager

If you have concerns about wrongdoing or unethical behaviour you are encouraged to report them to your line manager in the first instance. If you are uncomfortable raising your concerns to your line manager you should use one of the alternative reporting methods below.

Option 2: Talk to the Global Chief Compliance Officer or Regional Compliance Business Partner

If your line manager is unable to address the problem or if you do not feel comfortable reporting the matter to your line manager you may contact Softline’s Global Chief Compliance Officer or applicable Regional Compliance Business Partner who will deal with the matter in absolute confidence. Alternatively you can email Speakup@Softline.com.

Option 3: Use the confidential “Speakup” service

There may be circumstances where employees feel unable or extremely uncomfortable reporting a concern internally. This confidential service allows you to report a concern by telephone (toll free), website or email. The telephone and web service is operated by an external and independent organisation which is available 24/7 and 365 days a year.

  • Report by Telephone: a complete list of numbers is available online
  • Report by Email: speakup@Softline.com

Employee Confidentiality and Anonymity

If you report any wrongdoing or unethical behaviour the matter will be treated confidentially and your details will not be disclosed unless there is a legal obligation to do so. Softline is under a legal obligation to protect your interests and position and we will ensure anyone who raises an honest concern in good faith is supported and protected. You may report a matter anonymously but we would encourage you to go on the record. If we don’t know who you are when a matter is reported we cannot guarantee your subsequent protection of confidentiality in dealing with it.

What should you do if you notice any retaliation?

If you notice any retaliation against you or against anyone else for raising or having raised a concern in good faith about suspected wrongdoing or unethical behaviour, report this via one of our Speak Up channels. A report on retaliation against a reporter is treated like any other Speak Up report and the same procedure is followed.

What happens next?

Softline takes every report of possible wrongdoing or unethical behaviour seriously. If you submit a report, you will receive a confirmation of receipt within 5 to 7 working days, with an estimate of how long it will take to handle and assess your concern. Your report will undergo an initial review, and if necessary, it will be appropriately investigated. Investigation may involve other people in the business and teams such as Security, HR and Legal but your details will not be given to those investigating the matter unless absolutely necessary. On average, closure of the matter can be expected within 1 to 3 months. You will be informed of the overall findings, i.e. whether or not we have established that wrongdoing or unethical behaviour has taken place. Please note that we will not be able to give you full details of the outcome of a case (or related actions taken) for reasons of confidentiality, privacy and the legal rights of all concerned.

Managing reported concerns

If you're a line manager who receives a report of wrongdoing or unethical behaviour you should maintain absolute confidentiality between yourself and the person making the report. Do not contact the subject of the report or try to solve the matter by yourself. Document all of the facts available: person(s) involved, details of concern, evidence, dates, etc. You should then act immediately to contact the Global Chief Compliance Officer or applicable Regional Compliance Business Partner to discuss the matter further.

What is expected of you in connection with investigations?

If you become involved in an investigation, you need to cooperate and answer all questions completely and honestly. Lying to the people performing the investigation as well as delaying, interfering with or refusing to cooperate with an investigation may lead to disciplinary measures. All parties involved, including the accused, are entitled to confidentiality in order to avoid unnecessary damage to their reputation. Therefore, if you participate in or learn about an investigation, you must keep the matter confidential.

Appropriate measures

If your concern is well-founded (i.e. wrongdoing has indeed taken place), appropriate measures will be taken where necessary in accordance with applicable policies and the law.

How can a supplier report a concern?

Softline needs supplier participation in speaking up should a supplier encounter or suspect improper conduct from any Softline employees, no matter how senior, in any area of Softline’s business. All matters reported will be treated with absolute confidence and the supplier’s details will not be disclosed unless there is a legal obligation to do so or a matter may be reported anonymously. The supplier will be told the outcome of any investigation into the concern on a confidential basis unless there is a legal reason why Softline can’t share this. If the supplier is not satisfied by this approach Softline would urge the supplier to contact Softline’s Global Chief Compliance Officer or Chief Executive directly.

What other documents do I need to know about?

S.V. Chernovolenko,
Global CEO of Softline

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