The Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers within the State of Geneva of 29 January 2021 (B 5 07; LPLA) enters into force on 26 March 2022. Its aim is to guarantee that if people working within the Geneva administration, Grand Conseil, judicial authorities, universities including the University of Geneva, other public law institutions or municipal authorities signal irregularities, these irregularities will be investigated and whistleblowers and witnesses will be protected.
Information AND PRIOR guidance
The State of Geneva’s trusted group (groupe de confiance) provides guidance and information to whistleblowers.
Any member of UNIGE staff who notices irregularities relating to UNIGE activities or staff while lawfully carrying out their job may report these irregularities in good faith and in the public interest. A person who does this is a whistleblower as per article 3 LPLA.
Ideally, whistleblowers shall report to their hierarchical superiors. The procedure is set out in the Regulations on the Protection of Whistleblowers at the University of Geneva.
However, if reporting to hierarchical superiors is inappropriate, particularly because they are brought into question, because the issue has already been reported to them without follow-up, or for any other valid reason, the person may contact one of the following bodies, depending on the type of irregularity being reported:
- The law firm Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep SA, an external, independent body whose operations are set out in the regulations;
- The University’s Audit Committee (in French);
- The Court of Auditors (Cour des comptes) (in French).
The law firm Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep SA can process any type of report, for example reports of infringements of personal rights including psychological or sexual harassment, inadequate management or inappropriate behaviour, conflict of interest, irregularities relating to laws, regulations and internal procedures not being followed, endangering security, health or the environment, financial irregularities, or scientific misconduct.
The University’s Audit Committee is more specifically responsible for processing reports about, for example, financial matters, corruption, organisation, management, IT security or allocation of resources. The procedure is set out in the Regulations on the Protection of Whistleblowers at the University of Geneva.
The Court of Auditors may be informed of any dysfunction or irregularities knowledge of which would be useful to carrying out its auditing and evaluation tasks.
Reports can be made anonymously using a secure external platform.
The secure external platform can be used to:
- Sound the alarm with your hierarchical superior – the report is sent to UNIGE’s Secretary General who forwards it to the relevant person;
- Sound the alarm at law firm Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep SA (MLL Legal);
- Sound the alarm with UNIGE’s audit committee.
Whistleblowers or witnesses who feel that they are subject to professional disadvantages as a result of reporting or giving evidence in relation to a report may ask their hierarchical superior for protection. They are also able to contact the law firm Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep SA (LLM Legal) for protection.