Whistleblower Policy

Purpose

This policy supports Communities@Work commitment to transparent, accountable and ethical operations.  The policy complements normal reporting and communication channels and provides an alternative means of reporting alleged or suspected wrongdoing where the usual channels have failed or are not appropriate.

Introduction

Communities@Work are committed to maintaining the higher standards of ethical and moral behaviour, we uphold the highest standards of integrity in all our actions.  Communities@Work have a duty of care to ensure protection for whistleblowers who have reasonable grounds to disclose information.

The policy is separate from mandatory reporting, reportable conduct, external complaints and internal grievance processes and obligations, refer to specific policies relating to these matters.

This policy supports the Enterprise Agreement 2015

Authorisation

This policy shall be endorsed and issued under the authority of the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer may authorise amendments to this policy at any time.

Policy

Communities@Work is committed to protecting and respecting the rights of a person who reports wrongdoing in good faith.  A whisteblower could be:

  • A current or former company officer
  • An employee, contractor or supplier
  • Their associates or specific family members

A whistleblower should have reasonable grounds to suspect the organisation of misconduct, civil or criminal offence/s.  The disclosure should be made in good faith, be honest and genuine, and motivated by wanting to disclose wrongdoing.

A person who acts as a whistleblower can elect to be anonymous.

The whistleblower needs to follow the appropriate means of disclosure and have reasonable grounds for disclosure otherwise they may not covered by whistleblower protections.  Disclosure should be made by appropriate means; this could include:

  • speaking with or writing to a member of the executive team,
  • contacting the board or a regulatory authority,
  • anonymously through the Get in Touch system.

The organisation is obligated to investigate the matter raised, this may involve a preliminary internal investigation or Communities@Work may engage external and appropriate agencies or authorities to conduct the investigation.  Once a disclosure has been made will assess the disclosure to determine whether it qualifies for protection and then commence an investigation.  The investigation method will be determined by the matter disclosed but will include these key steps:

  • determine the nature and scope of the investigation
  • identify who should undertake the investigation
  • include a timeframe for investigation.

Communities@Work is committed to protecting and respecting the rights of a person who reports wrongdoing in good faith.  Communities@Work will not tolerate any retaliatory action or threats of retaliatory action against any person who has made or who is believed to have made a report of wrongdoing, or against that person’s colleagues, employer (if a contractor) or relatives.  For example, the person must not be caused detriment through:

  • Dismissal
  • Demotion
  • Any form of harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Current or future bias, or
  • Threats to any of these.

Protection is provided for someone making a disclosure in good faith, these can include penalties of up to $2000,000 (for individuals) and $1 million (for corporations) for disclosing a whistleblower’s identity or causing detriment to a whistleblower.  A whistleblower can seek compensation for detriment should that occur.

If you are a current or former officer, employee, or contractor of Communities@Work who has an employment dispute or work-related grievance with the organisation, you may wish to report misconduct by the organisation about that work-related dispute. However, the whistleblower protections do not cover a report of misconduct solely about your personal work-related grievance.

Generally, a personal work-related grievance will include:

  • an interpersonal conflict with another employee
  • a decision about your employment, transfer, or promotion
  • a decision about the terms and conditions of your employment
  • a decision to suspend or terminate your employment or otherwise discipline you.

Instead, you may have rights and protections under employment or contract law. We encourage you to seek your own legal advice about how you can resolve your personal work-related grievance.

Definitions

Whistleblower: A person within an organisation who reports a dishonourable matter, alleged misconduct, or alleged civil or criminal offence/s that has occurred within the workplace and organisation.

Disclosure: A fact, usually a secret, that is made known

Investigation: Systematic examination or research of a concern raised

Victimisation: Threatening to or actually treating someone detrimentally or in a punitive way

Responsibilities

Communities@Work [organisation]:

  • Primary duty of care to ensure , so far as it is reasonably practicable, that a disclosure can be made without repercussion for the whistleblower
  • To ensure all disclosures are investigated promptly and appropriately
  • To ensure appropriate reviews of practice and  corrective action are established following the disclosure and investigation

Human Resources:

  • To support line managers or their delegates during the process
  • To support employees during the process
  • To maintain appropriate confidentiality

Line managers or delegate:

  • To respond appropriately if a disclosure is made to them and refer the matter promptly and appropriately
  • To support employees during the process
  • To maintain appropriate confidentiality

Employee:

  • To communicate and disclose dishonourable matter, alleged misconduct, or civil or criminal offence/s that has occurred within the workplace and organisation.

Effective Date: DEC 2019

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