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Grievance Resolution and Whistleblowing Disclosure Policy

Please refer to our Grievance Resolution and Whistleblowing Disclosure Policy below. You can reach out to us directly - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - if you have a grievance or disclosure that you would like to raise under the terms of this policy.

1  About this policy

1.1  Our goals

Medclean Pty Ltd (Medclean) aims to maintain a happy and productive working environment. We also want to have ethical, compliant and accountable systems.

We can only achieve these goals if (amongst other things) all personnel that support the delivery of Medclean's services (employees, officers, contractors and employees of contractors) feel that their concerns, complaints or grievances are dealt with properly. We want to encourage you, as one of these personnel, to tell us – as soon as possible – about:

(a) any difficulty you are experiencing at work (or, if you are a contractor, in your involvement with Medclean);

(b) any complaint you have about anyone's behaviour or decisions at work (or, if you are a contractor, in your involvement with Medclean); and/or

(c) any other concern you have about possible non-compliance, misconduct or any system at Medclean that is not working the way you think it should.

This might include concerns about breaches of the law (including whistleblowing disclosures) or concerns about other things that you consider unfair or inappropriate.

1.2  What does this policy do?

This policy outlines:

(a) what is a 'personal work-related grievance' and how this is different from a 'whistleblowing disclosure';

(b) what you can do if you have a personal grievance and/or want to make a whistleblowing disclosure;

(c) how Medclean will deal with your grievance or whistleblowing disclosure; and

(d) what support and protections we offer eligible 'whistleblowers' and people involved in grievances in other ways.

 

This policy is made available to you as and when requested. Eligible whistleblowers who are not staff can access this policy by contacting us at admin@medclean.com.au.

This policy is not (and is not intended to be) contractual in nature, but sets out useful information and explains procedures. You might need to comply with those procedures so that you can access the protections that Medclean may make available to you.

1.3  What can change?

Medclean may vary this policy from time to time.

It may be appropriate for Medclean to depart from this policy in serious circumstances (such as if there is a risk to a person's life or safety).

2  What is a 'personal work-related grievance'?

2.1  General position

A personal work-related grievance is any complaint, concern or dispute to do with your employment (or previous employment) with Medclean which has implications for you personally. If you are employed by one of Medclean's contractors, you should raise any personal work-related grievances with your employer and, to the extent it relates to Medclean, your employer will raise the grievance with Medclean.

For example, a personal work-related grievance might include:

(a) a conflict between you and another staff member or person associated with delivery of our service;

(b) if you think you have been discriminated against, bullied or harassed; and/or

(c) any dissatisfaction about a decision or conduct relating to your employment (such as a decision about transfer or promotion, the terms of your employment, discipline or termination).

 

Personal work-related grievances are generally NOT whistleblowing disclosures.

 

2.2  Overlap with whistleblowing disclosures

However, a personal work-related grievance might ALSO be a whistleblowing disclosure, if it:

(a) has significant implications for Medclean that don't relate to you; and/or

(b) is about various types of unlawful conduct or conduct that is a danger to the public or the financial system that may be the subject of a whistleblowing disclosure under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act) or the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Tax Act), as set out in 3 below.

 

If your personal work-related grievance is a whistleblowing disclosure, then it will be attract whistleblower protection.

3  What is a 'whistleblowing disclosure'?

3.1  General definition

A 'whistleblowing disclosure' is a disclosure:

(a) made by an eligible 'whistleblower' (see 3.2, below);

(b) of information that is protected under the Corporations Act (see 3.3) or the Tax Act (see 3.4); and

(c) to an eligible recipient (see 5).

3.2  Who is an eligible 'whistleblower'?

Current staff, former staff, suppliers, contractors (including employees of contractors) and associates of Medclean and the relatives and dependants of these people may all be eligible whistleblowers.

 

Once an eligible whistleblower makes a whistleblowing disclosure, that person is legally protected under relevant legislation.

3.3  What information can be part of a 'whistleblowing disclosure'?

You might be able to make a 'whistleblowing disclosure' under the Corporations Act if you have reasonable grounds to suspect that you have information that concerns misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances in relation to Medclean or a related company. This includes information that indicates that Medclean (or a group company, or any of their officers/employees) has engaged in conduct that:

(a) is an offence under, or contravenes, any of the following laws:

  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001

  • Banking Act 1959

  • Insurance Act 1995

  • National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009

  • Corporations Act 2001

  • Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001

  • Life Insurance Act 1995

  • Superannuation Industry (Supervision Act) 1993

(b) is an offence under any other Commonwealth law punishable by at least 12 months' imprisonment; and/or

(c) represents a danger to the public of the financial system.

3.4  Under the Tax Act

You might also be able to make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Tax Act if:

(a) you have reasonable grounds to suspect that you have:

(i) information which indicates misconduct in relation to Medclean's tax affairs; or

(ii) information which indicates an improper state of affairs in relation to Medclean's tax affairs; and

(b) you consider that the information may assist the recipient to perform functions/duties in relation to Medclean's tax affairs.

4  Dealing with personal work-related grievances (NOT whistleblowing disclosures)

4.1  What to do if you have a personal work-related grievance?

If you have a personal work-related grievance, do not ignore the problem or hope that it will just go away. Instead, if you can, ask the person responsible for the conduct to stop. 

If you do not feel that you can do this, or if it doesn’t work, you should talk and/or write to your direct report/manager or the Managing Director. The Managing Director can be contacted at any reasonable time to discuss any grievance using the below contact details.

Position: Managing Director 

Phone: 0438 199 566

Email: admin@medclean.com.au

Usually, if either you or Medclean is not sure whether the information that you disclose is in fact a whistleblowing disclosure, Medclean will treat it as a whistleblowing disclosure for the purposes of this policy.

Be careful about discussing your complaint with other people. It is very easy for rumours to spread, and this can impact adversely on everyone involved.

4.2  How might your personal work-related grievance be resolved? Formal and informal processes

All staff and contractor (including the employees of contractors) personal grievances are important to us, and we want to address them.

There are different options for resolving a personal grievance. You may wish (or it may be appropriate) for your grievance to be dealt with either informally or formally.

Informal resolution is when the people involved resolve the issues between themselves. Sometimes, this happens through discussions, or an exchange of correspondence, or a mediated meeting between the people involved. Informal resolution will NOT involve Medclean conducting an investigation or making a formal decision about what has happened, or what the consequences should be. However, we might help with discussions or communications, or give guidance about next steps.

Formal resolution is when (either because this is what one of the people involved wants, or because of the nature of the grievance - for example, if it is about a very serious issue) it is appropriate for Medclean to make:

(a) a formal decision about what has happened; and

(b) a decision about what the consequences (if any) should be.

With personal grievances, Medclean has an absolute discretion as to whether or not to use a formal grievance resolution process.

Generally speaking, if there is to be a formal resolution:

(a) Medclean will ask the person with the grievance to describe that complaint, in detail, usually in writing;

(b) the person(s) against whom the grievance is brought will be given details of the allegation(s) against them and be given an opportunity to explain their side of the story;

(c) other people (witnesses) will be interviewed, notes will be taken of interviews, and documents collected; and

(d) after considering the evidence, Medclean will communicate its decision about the facts and about the outcomes to everyone involved, usually in writing.

4.3  Potential outcomes

The potential outcomes of both types of grievance processes are unlimited, and could include:

(a) a compromise between the parties involved about the issues raised;

(b) a decision that a complaint is correct or incorrect;

(c) a solution in which both parties benefit to some extent;

(d) disciplinary action, up to and including the termination of employment or contractor arrangements; and/or

(e) no action being taken.

5  Dealing with whistle-blowing disclosures

5.1  Disclosing to Medclean

You can make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Corporations Act or the Tax Act by contacting any of the following people (Contact Officers):

(a) an officer or senior manager at Medclean (or related body corporate). If you choose to do this, please contact:

Position: Managing Director

Phone: 0438 199 566

Email: admin@medclean.com.au

or

Position: Strategy Director

Phone: 0408 469 583

Email: admin@medclean.com.au

or

(b) a member of Medclean's audit team. If you choose to do this, please contact:

Organisation: Mannions Business Services Pty Ltd

Address: 105/304-318 The Kingsway, Caringbah NSW 2229

Phone: (02) 9531 0999

Email: enquiries@mannions.com.au

You can make a whistleblowing disclosure to any Contact Officer in person, by post, by telephone or by email (using their details above). You should ensure that any email or correspondence that you send to a Contact Officer is marked Strictly Confidential.

If you intend to make a whistleblowing disclosure we ask that you please include in your statement or email/letter: I am seeking to make a whistleblowing disclosure.

 

While it might seem obvious, this will help Medclean to:

(a) identify your concern as a whistleblowing disclosure;

(b) act on your disclosure promptly;

(c) trigger the protections that are available for a whistleblowing disclosure.

 

You should keep a file note of any correspondence or discussions (including the date and time) for future reference.

 

You should not make a whistleblowing disclosure to a Contact Officer who has been involved in the conduct or allegations you are reporting. In that case, contact a different Contact Officer.

5.2  External disclosures

If you do not want to contact Medclean or its auditor or actuary, you can contact the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Corporations Act, and you should refer to their policy about how their disclosure might be handled.

You can make a protected disclosure under the Tax Act to:

(a) anyone in Medclean listed in part 5.1;

(b) a Medclean employee or adviser who has functions/duties that relate to the tax affairs of Medclean or Medclean's registered tax or BAS agent (if any); or

(c) the Australian Commissioner of Taxation, in which case you should refer to their policy about how disclosures might be handled.

In some circumstances, you can make public interest of emergency disclosures under the Corporations Act (for example to a Member of Parliament). However,  these disclosures may not be protected unless made in the specific circumstances set out in the legislation. For example, before making a public interest disclosure, you must first make a report to ASIC, APRA or another prescribed body, and you must wait at least 90 days before making the public interest disclosure. You should ensure you carefully follow the correct process, or you might lose your protections under the law. Medclean encourages you to speak to an independent legal practitioner.

5.3  Should you make the disclosure anonymously or identify yourself?

You can choose to make a whistleblowing disclosure anonymously or through a pseudonym. However, if you do choose to be anonymous, this can sometimes make it more difficult for Medclean or an external authority to:

(a) make an assessment of and investigate the disclosure; and/or

(b) provide you with relevant protections.

If you choose, instead, to identify yourself when you make the disclosure, please note that the person you contract is legally required to keep your identity strictly confidential. If Medclean is aware of your identity, we will work with you to protect your identity.

5.4  What information should you include in a whistleblowing disclosure?

If you make a whistleblowing disclosure, you should consider providing as many of the following details as possible, to assist Medclean or an authority to determine the best course of action:

(a) the specific nature of the conduct of state of affairs that concerns you;

(b) the details of the person(s) you think engaged or is engaging in any relevant conduct;

(c) when and where the relevant events occurred (e.g. dates and times);

(d) details of anyone else aware of or involved in the conduct or events;

(e) details of anyone else who might be able to verify your disclosure;

(f) if you have done anything in response to the conduct of events;

(g) if you have any concerns about possibly being victimised, and if so by whom; and

(h) any supporting information (e.g. documents, file notes, emails photographs).

Please state expressly whether you give the Contact Officer permission to disclose your identity to an investigator (if any such investigator is appointed), so that an investigator can contact you to obtain further information if required.

5.5  Initial assessment of your whistleblowing disclosure

The investigator appointed will conduct a preliminary assessment, to determine whether your disclosure requires further information.

A disclosure will only warrant further investigation if there is some objective evidence of the events, conduct or situation disclosed, or reasonable suspicion that such evidence exists and may be obtained through further investigation.

If you have identified yourself to the Contact Officer and given the Contact Officer permission to disclose your identity to an external investigator (if any), then the investigator may contact you to obtain further information. 

If you have not identified yourself to the Contact Officer or have not given permission to disclose your identity, the Contact Officer will endeavour to undertake a preliminary assessment, but this may not be as conclusive or determinative as an investigation undertaken by an external investigator.

The assessment endeavours to be completed within four weeks, but this will depend on the circumstances and nature of your disclosure.

 

5.6  Investigation of your whistleblowing disclosure

If Medclean decides that a formal investigation is warranted, the law protects your identity in relation to that investigation as set out in 6.2 below.

Medclean also aims to maintain confidentiality about the investigation generally, as far as practicable. 

A formal investigation might involve third parties such as lawyers, accountants, HR consultants or specialist forensic investigators, who will:

(a) interview relevant witnesses;

(b) collect relevant documentary evidence;

(c) make a determination based on the evidence; and

(d) document the findings.

The investigator determines whether the information in the whistleblowing disclosure is proven on the balance of probabilities. The 'balance of probabilities' test requires consideration of whether it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct has occurred.

If the whistleblowing disclosures are proven, the investigator will report the outcome of the investigation to the appropriate decision-maker for further action (subject to any concerns about revealing your identity).

If the whistleblowing disclosures are not proven, but there is evidence of other inappropriate conduct, the matter might be referred to Medclean's senior managers.

If the whistleblowing disclosures are not proven, and there is no evidence of other inappropriate conduct, no further action will be taken.

Whatever the outcome, if the whistleblower can be contacted, the decision maker will advise the whistleblower of the outcome of the investigation.

6  Protection for whistleblowers and others

6.1  General

Medclean want to ensure that:

(a) staff (and employees of contractors) who report work-related grievances or make complaints in good faith; and

(b) whistleblowers who make disclosures in good faith,

do not suffer any detriment or disadvantage  in retaliation or as a result; and

(c) other staff members mentioned or involved in complaints and disclosures are treated fairly.

The protections set out below aim to achieve this. These protections may also be available to you if you make a disclosure to a legal practitioner to obtain legal advice or representation. Similar protections may also be available to you if you make a disclosure under the Tax Act.

A complaint or whistleblowing disclosure made in good faith that turns out to be incorrect may also qualify for protection. However, protection is not available to a person who deliberately makes a false report - and Medclean may take disciplinary action against that person (see 7 below).

6.2  Protection of identity and confidentiality

As noted above, you can make a whistleblowing disclosure anonymously, but doing so might make it more difficult for Medclean or a relevant authority to assess and investigate your disclosure or provide you with relevant protections. It is your decision.

(a) If you have chosen to reveal your identity when making a whistleblowing disclosure, Medclean may ask you to consent to Medclean disclosing:

(i) your identity; and/or

(ii) information that might lead to your identification,

      for example, if we consider that it would assist an investigation.

(b) If you choose not to give your consent:

(i) the person who knows your identity is permitted to disclose your identity only:

(A) to ASIC, APRA, the Australian Federal Police or (under the Tax Act) to the Commissioner of Taxation;

(B) to a legal practitioner to obtain advice; or

(C) in limited circumstances required by law, for example, where ordered by a court in legal proceedings;

(ii) Medclean will take reasonable steps to make all contact officers aware that:

(A) they cannot disclose your identity, even to another Contact Officer; and

(B) they need to keep any notes, records or information about your whistleblowing disclosure secure, in accordance with part 6.3 below; and

(iii) Medclean may disclose any information (other than your identity) that aids its investigation, so long as it:

(A) considers that the information in question aids its investigation but does not reveal your identity; and

(B) takes all steps it deems reasonable or helpful to reduce the risk that you will be identified as a result of disclosing that information.

6.3  Protection of files and records

 

Medclean maintains record-keeping and information sharing procedures with the aim of ensuring that all records are stored and handled securely.

 

All files and records created from an investigation should be retained under strict security, generally in a file only accessible by the Managing Director of Medclean, in the course of the investigation, and following the investigation.

6.4  No victimisation

'Victimisation' is what happens if a person is subjected to any detrimental treatment as a result of:

(a) making a complaint about a grievance and/or a whistleblowing disclosure; or

(b) someone else's belief that the person has made or will make a complaint or whistleblowing disclosure.

Victimisation can include, for example, bullying and harassment, termination of employment, physical violence or threats of physical violence, or damage to reputation.

Victimisation does not, however, include:

(a) administrative action that is reasonable to protect a whistleblower from detriment; or

(b) reasonable management action, such as setting high performance standards, constructive feedback and legitimate advice and/or peer review.

Victimisation is strictly prohibited. You should immediately inform Medclean's Managing Director or Strategy Director if you are subject to victimisation, or any threat of victimisation, so that Medclean can take action.

The Managing Director and/or Strategy Director may need to work with others in order to manage the risk of victimisation, including relevant managers or directors of Medclean. The Managing Director and/or Strategy Director is expected to take action in a timely manner to:

(a) protect you in the interim, which might include temporarily relocating you or the victimiser, or changing your reporting line;

(b) conduct a preliminary assessment of any alleged victimisation;

(c) if necessary and if you consent, refer the matter to senior management for further investigation; and

(d) if the allegation of victimisation is substantiated, and if you consent, refer the matter to a decision maker for further action.

Other staff members mentioned or involved in complaints and disclosures also need to be treated fairly. This is partly achieved by their involvement being kept reasonably confidential in accordance with the protections set out above. It also means that no decisions should be made that cause them detriment without proper investigation.

If you raise a concern about someone victimising you and they are not an employee, Medclean will assess, on a case-by-case basis, the appropriate reasonable steps it may need to take.

 

6.5  Other whistleblowing protections

Whistleblowers who make disclosures in good faith have additional protections under legislation, including:

(a) whistleblowers are not subject to any civil, criminal or administrative liability (including disciplinary action) for making the disclosure;

(b) no contractual or other remedy can be enforced, and no contractual or other right can be exercised against a whistleblower on the. basis of the disclosure;

(c) if the disclosure is made to ASIC, APRA or the Commissioner of Taxation, or is a public interest/emergency disclosure, then the information is not admissible in criminal proceedings or for the imposition of a penalty against a whistleblower; and

(d) whistleblowers may also seek compensation through the courts if they suffer loss, damage or injury because of a disclosure. Other remedies may be available depending on the type of detriment suffered. For example, a court may grant an injunction to stop victimisation, require an apology to be given, or to re-instant a whistleblower who has been victimised by termination of employment.

7  Involvement in wrongdoing

Medclean will discipline anyone found to have:

(a) unlawfully discriminated against, harassed, vilified or bullied another, or otherwise acted inappropriately;

(b) victimised a complainant or whistleblower;

(c) disclosed information in breach of our confidentiality rules; or

(d) lied about a complaint or made a complaint maliciously, or otherwise in bad faith.

Disciplinary action can involve termination of employment or contractor arrangements.

Some of the protections under this policy might also not be available to you if you are found to have been involved in wrongdoing that is the subject of a complaint or whistleblowing disclosure.

 

If you have any questions about this policy, please email admin@medclean.com.au or call us at (02) 8757 3724.

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