Q&A with Sumona De Graaf, SVP, Chief HR Officer

As the Chief HR Officer, Republic’s culture is incredibly important to me, and I hope that it is important to you too. It’s crucial that we own and protect our culture – if something feels wrong, speak up. Employees often have questions about how and when to speak up. In the Q&A below, I’ve answered some common questions I hear from employees.  Please review this Q&A to ensure you understand the importance of speaking up. At Republic, we are committed to maintaining a strong speak up culture where every employee’s voice is heard.

Q: I’ve seen the Speak Up, Be Heard, You Matter posters at my workplace. When should I speak up?

A: If you have a question, concern, or believe something is unethical, inappropriate, or inconsistent with our values, policies, or Code of Business Ethics and Conduct (our “Code of Ethics”), you should speak up and report it immediately to your leader, your HR partner, or through our AWARE Line.

Q:  I suspect – but am not certain—that someone is violating our Code of Ethics. Should I keep my concerns to myself?

A:  No. If you suspect a violation, say something. It’s better to raise a potential problem than to wait and risk harm to you, to others or to the Company. Even if, after investigation, it is determined that there is no Code of Ethics violation, you did the right thing by bringing your concerns to our attention.

Q:  If I have a concern that something is inconsistent with our values, should I report that concern to my immediate supervisor?

A:  You can speak directly to your immediate supervisor, any other manager, your HR partner, the Legal Department, or the Ethics & Compliance team. You also can contact the confidential AWARE Line.

Q:  I have heard that I can make a report to the AWARE Line and remain anonymous.  Is that true?

A: Yes. While you can always share who you are, it is not required. If you report a concern anonymously, you will be given a report number, which will allow you to follow up to receive any updates on the matter or provide additional information. If you decide to remain anonymous, it is important to provide as many details as possible (for example, who, what, when, and where) to allow the Company to promptly address and respond to your concerns.

Q: I’ve also heard that if I speak up, the Company will not retaliate against me. What does that mean?

A: No matter how you choose to report a concern, there will be no retaliation against anyone who raises concerns.  Retaliation means that an employee is subjected to a negative consequence for reporting a concern or participating in an investigation. Retaliation is a serious violation of Company policy and is not tolerated.

Q:  What happens after I speak up about a concern?

A:  All questions, concerns, and reports of possible inappropriate conduct are taken seriously and are addressed in a timely manner.  If an investigation is needed, it will be assigned to a qualified investigator who will conduct necessary interviews, gather facts, and collect required documentation in accordance with the Company’s formal investigation process. Your participation is important to support a thorough and fair investigation. If the concern is substantiated, the Company will take appropriate corrective actions. And, remember, there will be no retaliation against anyone who raises concerns or assists in the investigation of a reported concern.        

Q:  I am a leader at Republic—can I get in trouble if I don’t speak up when I see something that is unethical, inappropriate, or inconsistent with our policies or the Code of Ethics?

A:  Yes.  We have high standards for our leaders’ behavior. We expect our leaders to set a tone and culture that promotes Republic’s values and encourages our employees to speak up about concerns.  We also expect our leaders to report behavior that is unethical, inappropriate, or inconsistent with our policies and Code of Ethics.  Leaders may be subject to disciplinary action if they fail to report unethical or improper conduct that they know about or should have known about.

QWhat are some ways for me to raise concerns or provide feedback to the Company?

A:  We encourage you to have open discussions with your immediate supervisor and managers. Your HR team is a safe environment to share concerns and feedback as well. If you prefer to stay anonymous, you can always use the confidential AWARE Line.  As I mentioned above, we take your concerns seriously and address them in a timely manner. You also can share your thoughts anonymously in the Company’s Employee Experience Survey.  We read every comment and take your feedback to heart.  We want every employee to know that their voice matters, and no matter how you choose to share your thoughts, you are encouraged to speak up.

I want to end on one final thought – all employees should know that when you voice a concern – no matter how big or small, and no matter how you report it – we are committed to hearing you and will make sure appropriate actions are taken. Thank you for all you do to ensure that Republic’s culture of respect, inclusion, and openness continues to create a safe space for our employees to be heard.

Ethics Awareness Week Daily Trivia Question – Day 3