All public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of APRA regulated superannuation entities must have a whistleblower policy from 1 January 2020.
The Corporations Act, 2001, was amended to provide new whistleblower protections from 1 July 2019. However, a further 6-month period was provided to enable effected organisations to prepare and release their whistleblower policy.
The whistleblower protections available under the Corporations Act provisions include criminal as well as civil penalties for a person who causes or threatens to cause a detriment to a whistleblower, or who breaches a whistleblower’s confidentiality, including during an investigation into the whistleblower’s concerns. It is therefore very important that organisations have the right policy and processes in place to properly manage any whistleblower complaints.
If you are an affected organisation and you have not yet developed your policy, you are running out of time and need to commence this process immediately to comply with deadline. Further, it is also highly desirable that once an organisation has its policy in place, that all employees are trained in the use of the policy and how complaints are to be received and managed.
There has been a lot of hype in the media about the potential scope of complaints which could be made under the new legislation. Only time will tell how the courts are going to interpret the legislation and how wide the scope will be. However, what is clear is that this is not the mechanism through which individuals will be able to pursue personal grievances.
If you require assistance in developing or finalising your whistleblower policy in time for the 1 January 2020 deadline, or would like assistance in implementing a training program for the application of the policy, contact our HR Consulting Division at MazarsHR@mazars.com.au.
Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.
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