3. Access to remedy

Companies’ own redress mechanisms [page 17]

According to the UN Guiding Principles, companies are responsible for ensuring that their operations do not infringe on human rights and, if a company has caused or contributed to adverse impacts, that it seeks to provide redress to the victim. Such redress may include apologies, financial or non-financial compensation or other redress agreed by the victim and the company. The situation is more complex if the company has not contributed to adverse impacts but the impacts are directly linked to its operations. In such cases, and if the company has leverage to prevent or mitigate the adverse impacts, it should exercise it.

No ready-made model exists for how a company should best organise its own grievance redress mechanism. It is for each company to assess what is appropriate on the basis of its specific circumstances. Some criteria include:

  • Transparency – enables a dialogue with those affected by the company’s actions
  • Negotiations and discussions with employee representatives – often provide a good foundation for effective measures in cases concerning employees
  • Processes for internal whistleblowers, for follow-up on whistleblowing concerns and protection of whistleblowers

Secure and anonymous systems for handling complaints involving people outside the com-pany who feel that they, or others, have been or will be adversely affected by the company