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The complaint system is the tool available to a company to be aware of potential legal risks, through the people who have a relationship with it (workers, clients, suppliers); for this reason it is promoted in various legal frameworks around the world.

The complaints system is a successful international trend against corruption. In the case of Mexico, as a result of the legal reforms of 2015 (General Law of Administrative Responsibilities, National Code of Criminal Procedures, Federal Criminal Code) that gave rise to the National Anti-Corruption System, the complaints system is recognized as an important element to be generated by companies as part of their integrity policy, which will be useful as a mitigation in the event of criminal sanctions (art. 11 bis Federal Criminal Code and art. 422 of the National Code of Criminal Procedures).

In Spain, to strengthen the complaint system, the Law for the Protection of Informants was approved this month, which sets forth protective measures for people who report acts of corruption, to prevent them from suffering retaliatory measures from the accused. This law establishes a period of three months for private companies with 50 or more workers to implement a reporting channel that is safe and confidential, that preserves the identity of the informant and of the people reported.

Starting in 2015 in Mexico, two platforms were also created for citizens or public servants to make confidential complaints against alleged cases of corruption; the first is a system of the Ministry of Public Function (Integral System of Citizen Complaints, SIDEC) and the second is the Electronic Complaints System of the Superior Audit of the Federation, regulated in the Law on Audit and Accountability of the Federation, articles 59 to 61, which sets forth that any person (physical or legal) may file complaints when the irregular management of federal public resources is presumed, including allegedly irregular acts in public procurement. However, the necessary incentives and protection measures have not yet been generated for individuals to adequately report acts of corruption through said platforms.

In Mexico it is not mandatory to have a complaint channel; however, the external management of the complaints system can provide the necessary security and confidentiality, and offers the following benefits for companies:

  • Comply with the integrity policy established in article 25 of the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities, which may serve to mitigate sanctions.
  • Promote a culture of reporting based on trust, confidentiality and impartiality, which strengthens the compliance culture in the organization.
  • Provide greater confidence to the complainant, not to suffer retaliation. Offer confidentiality and security to the complainant (real possibility of anonymity, more difficult to achieve in internal management of the complaint channel).
  • Objectivity in the investigation of complaints that involve any employee or official of the company, including senior management.
  • Guarantee that consequences are applied in cases that are proven.
  • Build trust and loyalty in workers, customers and suppliers.

If you need additional information regarding the contents of this document or if you need legal advisory, please contact the following persons:

Jorge Ortega González – Of Counsel

Email: jorge.ortega@s-l.mx 

Phone Number: +52 55 50015452

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