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Corporate compliance with your law firm from Wien Compliant realisation

Compliance is a topic that concerns every company. It means that a company adheres to all applicable rules, laws and standards. It encompasses the entirety of all measures that are necessary to ensure that a company, its organisational members and its employees act by the rules. As a lawyer, Ulrike Pöchinger and her team are at your side with a wealth of experience and professional expertise. Contact us - we will be happy to take the time to provide you with sound advice and assist you with the implementation of all requirements!

Whistleblower systems by all corporate compliance requirements

Corporate compliance is a wide-ranging field of activity - also for lawyers. It is important to always be up to date with the latest developments, as this is the only way we can provide you with competent assistance with all questions and ambiguities. The topic has an impact on various business areas – for example, Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law must also be implemented in Austria. Both public bodies and private employers above a certain size have been obliged to have a whistleblowing system in place since 2021.

We can support you in various areas:

  1. Checking the applicability of the size criteria
  2. Evaluating existing whistleblowing systems (in particular about confidentiality)

or

  1. Implementing new internal and/or external reporting systems
  2. Determining the scope of internal company reporting
  3. Defining the protective measures for whistleblowers (in particular taking into account aspects of labour law and data protection law)

In close cooperation with IT experts, we support you in implementing the system by the guidelines!

Implementation of compliance management systems with our law firm

To minimise the risk of non-compliant and illegal behaviour, we first carry out a risk analysis with a subsequent assessment of the defined risks. Based on the results of the risk analysis, specific measures must be defined that help to counter the risks preventively or detect them at an early stage. These measures can vary in nature and range from specifications in the form of guidelines and instructions to training and whistleblower systems.

As diverse as the compliance requirements in companies can be, they also differ greatly between industries, meaning that a standardised system cannot be implemented for all companies. Nevertheless, legal areas can be defined that must be recognised and assessed as a risk by every company to avoid adverse (criminal) legal consequences.

The material compliance areas (risks) include

Criminal compliance

Corruption affects both the private and public sectors and refers to actions in which the power entrusted to a company is abused for personal gain. It leads to economic and immaterial damage as well as loss of reputation. Corruption makes people dependent, susceptible to blackmail and, above all, is a criminal offence. Not only the natural person is liable to prosecution, but also the company itself under the Corporate Criminal Liability Act if a decision-maker or employee of the company has committed the acts of corruption or was otherwise involved in them, the offence was committed for the benefit of the company or the company's obligations were violated as a result. Corporate criminal law therefore stipulates that companies are required to implement monitoring and control measures (compliance measures) to avoid criminal liability.

Labour law

Labour law contains numerous provisions, non-compliance which can result not only in civil law disadvantages but also administrative penalties. Violations can sometimes result in criminal sanctions, the withdrawal of a business licence and exclusion from participation in public tenders. Particular attention should be paid to compliance with the statutory provisions on working hours, remuneration, employment of foreigners, protection under the Equal Treatment Act and employee protection and safety.

Privacy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in force since 2018, which has made data protection law increasingly important for compliance. Violations are now threatened with fines. Since the GDPR applies to any "fully or partially automated processing of personal data stored in file systems", its comprehensive scope of application for Austrian companies can be assumed. In data protection law, fines can also be imposed on a parent company for violations of its daughters. The financial situation of the entire Group must be taken into account when determining the amount of the fine. The GDPR follows the principle: "Everything that is not expressly permitted is prohibited". It is therefore unavoidable to deal with the legal provisions and to avoid violations, not least given the sensitively high fines.

Knowing and reducing your own risk is therefore essential! Avoid financial damage, which can reach existential dimensions, and other indirect consequences such as loss of reputation, liability risks and competitive disadvantages. An internal compliance management system sometimes has a criminal-reducing effect, especially in the area of the criminal liability of the company itself (association responsibility). It has long been no longer sufficient to rule on corruption cases, but to combat them at the root through an effective compliance management system.

Outsourcing of compliance tasks – we take care of it

Especially in medium-sized companies, the question arises of outsourcing compliance functions to an external service provider given limited resources and know-how. Although the commitment must come from the company ("tone from the top"), external service providers can provide support and advice. In this way, external empirical values and an objective judgment can be built on.

As a lawyer, I am a specialist in all risk areas and support your company in defining your legal risks and implementing risk reduction measures. Special confidentiality is ensured by the legally enshrined duty of confidentiality, which I am subject to as a lawyer, and is supplemented by my right to refuse to testify in court.

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