In August 2018, Panasonic integrated its existing whistleblower hotlines for compliance-related issues to create a unified global hotline. The new hotline started addressing issues that included inappropriate use of funds, embezzlement, conflicts of interest, quality fraud, bribery, competition law violations and harassment. We also have an Equal Employment Opportunity Office in Japan available for consultation about fair treatment in the workplace, sexual harassment, and power harassment, as well as an Auditor Reporting System for company accounting and auditing issues.
The Panasonic Code of Conduct stipulates that “Whistleblowers shall be protected from dismissal, demotion, or any other retaliatory treatment that results from their legitimate reporting of possible violations of any law or regulation. We will ensure the thorough and confidential treatment of all reported information.” Retaliation against whistleblowers is strictly forbidden, and their confidentiality is assured through anonymous reporting.
In fiscal 2020, we received approximately 760 reports and requests for consultation, mostly through the abovementioned hotline. For all the contacts received through our global hotline, support desks coordinated with relevant divisions to investigate, check, and respond to claims.
In July 2019, Panasonic adopted two new internal regulations: the “Internal Reporting and Investigation Rules”, and the “Rules on the Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior against Whistleblowers, and Others”. The former—to quickly detect and resolve violations of laws and corporate regulations—establishes operational procedures and systems for reporting suspected violations, appropriately receiving notifications, and investigating and correcting any violation. Through the abovementioned second new regulation, we will prevent retaliation against whistleblowers, case investigators, investigation collaborators, and others, while making clear that the provisions of the Panasonic Code of Conduct safeguard whistleblowers and similar parties. By doing so, we will encourage whistleblowing and ensure appropriate investigations into these cases.