Internal Whistleblower Hotline in Accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG)

The Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) protects any persons who inform the university of misconduct and breaches of laws and regulations from reprisals and repercussions. To implement this law, the university has established a whistleblower hotline in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act, which you may use to contact the university confidentially and anonymously.

Legal basis

The legal basis for the whistleblower hotline is provided by the following legal texts:

Who May Report Misconduct and Breaches of Laws and Regulations?

The whistleblower hotline is available to employees and persons associated with Osnabrück University through their professional activities.

What kinds of Misconduct and Breaches of Laws and Regulations may be Reported?

Section 2 of the Whistleblower Protection Act applies to a range of activities including:

  • criminal offenses, for example corruption, theft, fraud and similar offenses,
  • infringements of laws and regulations relating to environmental law, radiation safety and nuclear safety,
  • infringements of laws and regulations for the protection of personal data and the confidentiality of (electronic) communications and for the security of information technology,
  • infringements of regulations for contracting authorities regarding the process of tendering for public-sector contracts,
  • statements made by civil servants that represent an infringement of their duty to demonstrate loyalty to the German constitution.

Whistleblower Hotline: Contact and Operating Procedure

Holger Voigtländer is the contact person at the anti-corruption office who operates the whistleblower hotline. (His deputy is Heidi Griefingholt).  You can contact the whistleblower hotline

Should you choose to contact the whistleblower hotline by letter, please write the word “confidential” on the front of the envelope. Should you choose to contact the whistleblower hotline by email, you might consider setting up a private email account under a fictitious name to prevent any email correspondence being traced back to you. If you wish to arrange a personal meeting, please inform us of your intention to do so using one of the methods of communication outlined above.

The internal reporting channel exists to protect the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower, of the persons who are the object of the report, and that of any other persons named in the report.

The identity of these persons may only be made known to those persons who are responsible for receiving whistleblower reports or for the taking of appropriate actions as a consequence of those reports as well as any other persons in a supporting role during these processes. Exceptions are listed under Section 9 of the Whistleblower Protection Act. Notwithstanding the above, complete anonymity cannot be guaranteed. It is potentially the case that your report might contain information that is known to only a small circle of persons, or there are other ways that might make it possible to conclude that you are the source of the information.   Furthermore, the staff members at the whistleblower hotline and other related parties are not privileged from testifying as a witness to the law enforcement authorities. Nevertheless, staff at the whistleblower hotline will process anonymous reports and no active measures will be taken to discover the identity of the informing party.

If you have provided us with your contact details, you will receive confirmation of receipt shortly after we receive your report.  The whistleblower hotline will check the plausibility of your report and take appropriate measures as a consequence.  Within three months after confirmation of receipt, you will receive notification of the follow-up measures which are planned or have already been taken, and the reasons for these follow-up measures as far as it is possible to do so without compromising internal investigations and inquiries or the rights of persons who are the subject of the report or who are named in the report (cf. Section 17 subsection 2 Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG)).

Central Government Whistleblower Hotline

Instead of approaching the whistleblower hotline operated by Osnabrück University, you may also turn to the whistleblower hotline operated by the central government. Additional information about this whistleblower hotline and how to submit a report online is available on the website of the Federal Office of Justice:  website of the Federal Office of Justice.

Data protection

The reporting process may involve the processing of personal data. The legal basis for processing this data is provided under Art. 6 subsection 1 lit. c EU-GDPR in conjunction with Section 10 Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG).