Whistleblowers given new protection

From July 1, whistleblowers who report misconduct about companies and company officers have more rights and stronger protections.

The Corporations Act 2001 has been updated to better protect corporate whistleblowers by requiring their confidentiality is maintained and preventing them from suffering or being threatened with detriment.

Whistleblowers will now be able to seek compensation if they suffer loss, damage or injury for making a disclosure.

ASIC said these protections are designed to encourage whistleblowers to come forward to the company or ASIC to raise their concerns.

The protections apply to those who observe or are affected by corporate misconduct and may face reprisals for reporting it.

This covers both current and former company employees, officers and contractors as well as their spouses and dependants even where these people wish to remain anonymous.

These protections don't only cover breaches of the law, but also whistleblowers who are reporting misconduct or an improper state of affairs within a company.

"We value the people from inside companies and organisations who come to ASIC with reports of potential misconduct or breaches of the law. Whistleblowers provide ASIC with important information and help us enforce the laws we administer to address and prevent harm to consumers," ASIC commissioner John Price said.

"ASIC considers a strong and effective arrangement for handling reports from whistleblowers is a key component of corporate governance. We encourage companies to implement a strategy for dealing with whistleblower reports they may receive in line with the legislative requirements."

Large proprietary companies, public companies, and corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities are now required to have a whistleblower policy in line with the changes.

Read more: ASICJohn Price
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