ASIC guidance on whistleblower policies

ASIC is consulting on a draft Regulatory Guide on Whistleblower policies which will give guidance for entities that must have a whistleblower policy from 1 January 2020: public companies, large proprietary companies and proprietary companies that are trustees of registrable superannuation entities. Background.

The ASIC consultation paper also seeks feedback on whether ASIC should provide legislative relief to public companies that are small not-for-profits or charities as well as small proprietary companies and small companies limited by guarantee.

At the same time a project led by Griffith University’s Centre for Governance & Public Policy has separately published Clean as a Whistle – a five step guide to better whistleblowing policy and practice in business and government.

The proposed ASIC Regulatory Guide explains how companies can establish, implement and maintain a policy. It covers the information that companies must include in their whistleblower policy, including how they will support and protect whistleblowers and handle and investigate whistleblower disclosures.

The draft RG also includes some good practice guidance.

The proposed guidance reflects that, if a discloser seeks compensation and other remedies through the courts because they have suffered detriment, including because the discloser’s employer failed to prevent detriment from occurring, the court may take into account the extent to which the employer gave effect to their whistleblower policy (if the entity has a policy in place).

ASIC intends to release the regulatory guide in October 2019.

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