KEY TAKE OUTS:
Generally in NSW, if you report a public sector for corrupt conduct in good faith to the ICAC, you are protected by law from reprisals. But to what extent are you really protected? Ensuring you seek legal advice first is important.
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is a person who provides information and exposes corrupt conduct within an organisation in the hope of stopping it.
What are the current Protections for whistleblowers
Allegations of corrupt conduct made to the ICAC may attract the protection of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (“the ICAC Act”), the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (“the Public Interest Disclosures Act”) and other legislation.
The ICAC Act aims to:
- protects people who are not public officials
- protects people who are public officials
- makes it a crime to victimise a person in reprisal for the person giving the ICAC information or assisting it in other ways. This includes protection against dismissal or disadvantage to anyone in their employment.*
*from ICAC webpage.
With the introduction of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019 (TLA Act) as at 1 July 2019 there is a shift towards better protection but more can be done to protect whistleblowers and empower them to come forward without the fears that are associated with the act.
Where could it improve?
The only way I can see improvement is to have one clear, concise Act that is Australia wide and provides strong penalty and protections for whistleblowers.
ABOUT KARENA NICHOLLS:
Karena is a Partner at Coutts Lawyers and Conveyancers and is the Head of our Injury Compensation (with extensive knowledge in personal injury) and Employment Law teams. She is passionate and dedicated to helping her clients understand their rights and obligations and advising them on the best course of action to achieve their desired outcomes. It is her practical and client-orientated approach which has attributed to her authentic reputation positioning her as a highly regarded compensation and employment lawyer.
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This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.