Fitness Forever Whistleblower Protection Policy

WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION POLICY

1         Purpose

This policy sets out a framework which complies with all relevant laws to enable the reporting of unacceptable conduct and the protection of individuals who report such conduct.

2         Scope

This policy and the obligations imposed by the Code of Conduct, apply not only to employees (including current and former) of Fitness Forever (whether permanent, fixed or temporary, and including Directors, executives, managers and supervisors) and their family members, but also any third party including subcontractors and vendors (and their employees) which provide goods or services to Fitness Forever. In this policy, the term employee includes all these groups.

This policy sets out the minimum requirements for Fitness Forever regardless of the jurisdiction in which Fitness Forever may operate.

3         Principles

Fitness Forever is committed to promoting a culture of compliance, honesty and ethical behaviour. Consistent with the Code of Conduct and our value of Integrity, Fitness Forever encourages the reporting of unacceptable conduct in an environment where Fitness Forever will ensure Whistleblower’s are free from Victimisation.

4         Objectives and strategies

4.1        Reporting business concerns

A Whistleblower may report a Genuinely Held Business Concern which they have reasonable grounds to suspect involves misconduct or an improper state of affairs to Fitness Forever. Only Genuinely Held Business Concerns will be investigated by Fitness Forever.

A Whistleblower may communicate a Genuinely Held Business Concern to a third party appointed by Fitness Forever to manage an independent Whistleblower service.

Whistleblowers may also communicate Genuinely Held Business Concerns to the Director or Fitness Forever’s auditors. Any representative nominated in this Policy or any other person who receives information from a Whistleblower must provide an accurate report of that information as soon as possible. Under no circumstances is the party receiving the information to take action to investigate the subject matter of the report or try to identify the Whistleblower.

A Whistleblower may make a report directly to govering bodys that Fitness Forever operate under, these include Fitness Australia, ESSA, ANTA and the NDIA

Except in the following circumstances, Fitness Forever undertakes that a Whistleblower will remain anonymous and their identity not disclosed to any third party until they consent to its disclosure.  Fitness Forever may disclose the identity of a Whistleblower to:

  • government organisations such as ASIC, APRA or a State or Federal Police force; or
  • a legal practitioner for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.

Any disclosures of the identity of a Whistleblower under these circumstances will be made in writing by Fitness Forever.

4.2        External Reporting to journalists and parliament only in specific circumstances

Subject to satisfying Public Interest Disclosure or Emergency Disclosure requirements, in Australia a Whistleblower may report a Genuinely Held Business Concern to a journalist or a Member of Parliament and still obtain the protections of the whistleblower legislation. Where the Public Interest Disclosure or Emergency Disclosure requirements are not satisfied, speaking to a journalist or a member of parliament about confidential information in relation to Fitness Forever without authorisation is not permitted and represents a breach of our Code of Conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action.

4.3        Investigating reported Genuinely Held Business Concerns

Investigations into Genuinely Held Business Concerns will be conducted by the Director in a manner which is fair and objective, and in accordance with the Ethics and Compliance Investigation Standard, and this Policy. Alternatively, a Genuinely Held Business Concern may be investigated by an independent third party if deemed appropriate by Fitness Forever’s General Counsel.

Any Fitness Forever employee who receives a request for assistance about a Genuinely Held Business Concern from the Director must do the following:

  • Treat the investigation with sensitivity and maintain confidentiality of information, including the identity of the Whistleblower if consent has been received for the Whistleblower’s identity to be disclosed, and the identity of any parties alleged to be involved.
  • Provide all relevant information to and assist the Director with their investigation.

If requested by the Whistleblower the Whistleblower will be informed of the outcome of the investigation of their report, subject to any privacy or other legal limitations.

4.4        Protection for Whistleblowers

Fitness Forever is committed to the protection of Whistleblowers who report Genuinely Held Business Concerns. Fitness Forever will take steps to ensure the protection of a Whistleblower, including but not limited to the following:

  • ensuring confidentiality in any investigation
  • protecting, where legally possible, the Whistleblower’s identity
  • offering the Whistleblower leave during the investigation
  • relocating the Whistleblower to a different group or department within Fitness Forever.

The Director is responsible for the co-ordination of all steps taken to ensure the protection of a Whistleblower.

4.5        Breach

A breach of this policy is a breach of the Code of Conduct and may lead to disciplinary action. This may include termination of employment in serious cases.

5         Definitions

Term Meaning
Bribery, Fraud, Corruption Have the meanings assigned to those terms in the Bribery and Corruption Policy.
Business Concern Includes, but is not limited to, a breach of the Code of Conduct; breach of a law or regulation; Fraud, Corruption or Bribery; unsafe or unethical work practices; work practices which endanger the environment; abuse of position of trust or use of information for any purpose other than a legitimate business purpose; anti-competitive or collusive dealings; inappropriate use of Fitness Forever assets or property; falsifying any financial record or documents or any conduct which may constitute misconduct or an improper state of affairs; conduct that may cause financial loss to the interests of Fitness Forever.
Emergency Disclosure Means the following criteria must be satisfied. The Whistleblower:

a)     has previously reported the Genuinely Held Business Concern to ASIC, APRA or any other PCA

b)     has reasonable grounds to believe that the information concerns a substantial and imminent danger to the health or safety of one or more persons or to the natural environment, and

c)     gives the body to which the previous disclosure (on the Genuinely Held Business Concern) was made a written notification that includes sufficient information to identify the previous disclosure and states that the Whistleblower intends to make an emergency disclosure.

Genuinely Held Means any view that is held by a person and the person has reasonable grounds for holding this view. A view is not Genuinely Held where it is used or expressed to cause another person harm or embarrassment or is reported maliciously or for gain or advantage.
Public Interest Disclosure Means that the following criteria are all satisfied:

a)     the Whistleblower has previously made a disclosure (on the Genuinely Held Business Concern) to ASIC, APRA or any other prescribed Commonwealth authority (PCA)

b)     at least 90 days have passed since the disclosure was made to ASIC, APRA or any PCA

c)     the Whistleblower does not have reasonable grounds to believe that action is being taken to address the matters to which the previous disclosure related

d)     the Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to believe that making a further disclosure of the information would be in the public interest, and

e)     following the end of the 90-day period, the Whistleblower gives the body to which the previous disclosure was made a written notification that includes sufficient information to identify the previous disclosure and states that the Whistleblower intends to make a public interest disclosure.

Victimisation and Victimised Includes, but is not limited to, injury, dismissal, disciplinary action, demotion, harassment of any form, discrimination or intimidation or current/future bias of a Whistleblower or a Whistleblower family member.
Whistleblower Means any person or persons within the Scope of this policy who raises a Genuinely Held Business Concern.
Fitness Forever Means Fitness Forever Services and all its related bodies.

 

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