EY/Ethics: Frequently asked questions

Why does EY have an ethics hotline?

EY/Ethics has been established to provide EY people, clients and others outside of EY with a means to confidentially, and, either anonymously or on a disclosed basis, report an activity that may involve unethical or illegal behavior that is in violation of professional standards, or otherwise inconsistent with the EY Global Code of Conduct.

EY/Ethics is for use in a situation where a person does not feel comfortable using any of the usual channels of communication to raise a concern (e.g., client service partner), or where the person has reason to believe that using the typical communication and reporting channels has been, or would be, unsuccessful. We expect that such situations will be rare.

Who operates the ethics hotline?

EY/Ethics is operated by an independent external organization, NAVEX Global (www.navex.com), which provides confidential and, if so desired, anonymous hotline reporting solutions for organizations worldwide. NAVEX Global collects information from the reporter and then passes the report to EY for follow-up and investigation. You can find out more about NAVEX Global at www.ethicspoint.com. In Germany the telephone hotline is operated and answered by EY hotline personnel.

Do NAVEX Global employees have to sign confidentiality agreements?

Yes. All employees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement upon joining NAVEX Global. All contact center employees are required to reconfirm their agreement monthly.

Who can contact the ethics hotline?

Anyone internal (partners, staff) or external (clients, vendors, or others) to EY can contact EY/Ethics, either via telephone or via the internet.

When can I contact the ethics hotline?

You can contact EY/Ethics at any time via the EY/Ethics website, or by calling the toll-free hotline telephone number most local to you, which can be found on the EY/Ethics website at www.eyethics.com. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Can I make my report in any language?

Yes.

Should I use the ethics hotline whenever I have a concern?

EY/Ethics should be used in unusual circumstances where other channels of communication are unavailable or do not appear to be appropriate. If you have an ethics concern, you should first consider raising it directly with an EY partner or other EY professional.

If you still believe there is an issue, then please contact EY/Ethics to report your concern.

How does EY/Ethics work?

By website

If you submit a report via the EY/Ethics website, the site will prompt you to provide the information that is required to investigate a concern. You will have the option to navigate the site in one of several languages: English, Dutch, French, Japanese, Turkish, Portuguese or Spanish. However, you may make your report in any language.

You will be given the option to either remain anonymous or to provide your name and contact details. Please note in some locations anonymity is not available because of local laws/regulations.

Once you have completed your report, you will be provided with a Report Key and asked to create a password. You can return to the site any time after submitting your report for an update, using your Report Key and password to access the report. EY endeavors to acknowledge your report within 5 business days, and we may also have follow-up questions in order to investigate the matter further.

By Telephone

If you contact EY/Ethics by telephone in Germany, your call will be answered (or, if you leave a message, your message will be processed) by an EY hotline specialist who will guide you through the process. For the rest of the world, your call will be answered in English by a qualified NAVEX Global call center specialist. At your request, the call center specialist may transfer the call to a colleague who is able to speak your language, or ask an interpreter to join the conversation. EY/Ethics supports all languages.

During the call, you will be asked whether or not you wish to remain anonymous (in some locations anonymity is not available because of local laws/regulations.) You will be given the option to:

  • Have your identity and contact information made available to EY without restriction
  • Have your identity and contact information made available only to EY personnel who are responsible for investigation ethics matter and who are obligated to keep such information confidential
  • Remain anonymous

NAVEX Global will ask you for relevant information. At the end of the call, you will be given a Report Key and you will be asked to create a password. If you want to call back later, the Report Key and password will enable NAVEX Global to access information about your report.

Whether you submit your report by website or phone, Details of the report will be sent to designated EY personnel for follow up.

How will I know what happens as a result of my report?

When you submit a report using the EY/Ethics website or the telephone hotline, you can check back after five working days for an update on the status of the investigation either by accessing the EY/Ethics website or by placing a follow-up call using the telephone hotline.

Depending on the complexity of the case, some investigations may take time to complete.

In some cases, you may be asked for more details about the case in order for us to investigate the matter further. If you chose to give your name and contact information, you may be contacted by appropriate EY personnel at the location where the report arose.

For confidentiality reasons, details of the investigation or outcome may not be shared with you.

When will I receive a response to my report?

We commit to making at least an initial response within five working days of receiving the report. However, follow-up may often require a more detailed and thorough investigation that may take longer to complete. For confidentiality reasons, details of the investigation or outcome may not be shared with you.

If I call the EY/Ethics hotline, will my call be recorded?

No. However, in order to create a report, hotline staff will take notes of your call.

Can I make a report to the ethics hotline anonymously? If I identify myself, will my identity be kept confidential?

You do not have to identify yourself when you contact the ethics hotline, or when you make a report on the EY/Ethics website, although we do encourage you to do so. We may be able to do a better job of investigating your concern if you let us know who you are and how to reach you. If you do provide your name or other identifying information, your identity will be treated as confidential.

During the call, you will be asked whether or not you wish to remain anonymous. You will be given the option to have your identity and contact information made available to EY without restriction; have your identity and contact information made available only to EY personnel who are responsible for investigating ethics matters and who are obligated to keep such information confidential; or you can opt to remain anonymous.

However, you should note that it is not possible to guarantee absolute confidentiality in all circumstances. Disclosure to others inside or outside EY may be required by law in certain cases. For example, there may be a legal requirement for disclosure in the case of reported of money laundering. In addition, it is also possible that someone could guess your identity from the circumstances in your report.

You should not let these possibilities discourage you from reporting a concern.

Is my hotline report covered by attorney-client legal privilege?

Depending on the contents of your report, it may be covered by legal privilege, but it is safest to assume that it is not.

Is it possible that my hotline call to EY/Ethics can be traced back to me by using ‘Caller ID’?

No. Caller identification is disabled for all incoming calls.

Who responds to the reports that are logged with the ethics hotline?

Reports are routed to designated EY personnel. The individuals vary around the world, but typically include a member of our legal department, risk management or talent / human resources teams.

What happens if the recipient of the report is the subject of the concern?

The NAVEX Global system checks the name reported against the names of those in the report distribution, and flags any possible conflicts. Where this occurs, the person named in the report will be removed from the recipient list for the specific report.

What happens if somebody that I have made a report about finds out I made the report?

It is EY’s policy to encourage people to report concerns regarding client engagements or unethical or illegal behavior, as well as to protect people who raise such concerns from retaliation. As stated in our Global Code of Conduct, “EY does not permit discrimination or retaliation of any kind for good faith reports of illegal or unethical behavior”.

Retaliation is a serious violation of our Global Code of Conduct and any retaliation by an EY person, such as intimidation, is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Can I get into trouble for contacting EY/Ethics? Do I need proof that someone is doing something wrong before making a report?

We encourage you to report any legitimate, good-faith concerns, even if you do not have proof of wrong-doing. Of course, making intentionally false allegations through any channel is a serious legal matter.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions about EY/Ethics?

You can contact: