This Australian Whistleblowing Policy (Policy) applies to Envato Pty Ltd (ACN 119 159 741), and any other related Australian entities, collectively referred to as "Envato".
Envato is committed to detecting and addressing misconduct and ensuring that those who become aware of misconduct in relation to Envato’s Australian operations can report it without being concerned that it will negatively affect them or their position.
Envato may amend this Policy from time to time at its discretion.
Interaction with Australian Whistleblowing Legislation
There are specific provisions under Australian legislation which provide whistleblowers with legal rights in relation to certain types of disclosures.
The relevant legislation is the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (sections 1317AA to 1317AK) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) (sections 14ZZT to 14ZZZE) (the Whistleblowing Legislation). The protections under the Whistleblowing Legislation only apply to certain types of disclosures, known as Qualifying Disclosures. To assist our staff to understand when those statutory protections are available, we have identified in this Policy where there are relevant specific requirements under the Whistleblowing Legislation for a report to be a Qualifying Disclosure.
This Policy contains a summary of parts of the Whistleblowing Legislation. For further detail, you should refer to the text of that legislation. This Policy is not intended to override any rights or obligations you may have under the Whistleblowing Legislation.
A copy of this Policy is accessible to all employees and officers of Envato on Envato’s intranet here.
2. Making a report
What matters should be reported?
If you have reasonable grounds to suspect that you have information concerning:
misconduct (which includes any corrupt, fraudulent or other illegal conduct or activity) or an improper state of affairs or circumstances in relation to Envato or any related body corporate of Envato; or
misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstances, in relation to the tax affairs of Envato or an associate of Envato (Tax Disclosures)
then this is a disclosable matter under the Whistleblowing Legislation.
Envato expects all employees and officers to report any disclosable matters. Failure to report disclosable matters may result in disciplinary action.
A disclosure that does not relate to a disclosable matter is not covered by this Policy as it would not qualify for protection under the Whistleblowing Legislation. Such a disclosure may be protected under other legislation (such as the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)).
What matters should not be reported under this Policy?
Personal work-related grievances should not be reported under this Policy and are not protected under the Whistleblowing Legislation. Should you wish to report a personal work-related grievance, please refer to Envato's Problem Resolution Policy.
Some examples of matters which should not be reported under this Policy include:
an interpersonal conflict between employees;
a staff member's dissatisfaction with their pay; or
a staff member’s dissatisfaction with their performance feedback or results of their annual performance review.
Who can make a whistleblowing report?
The following people (among others) are eligible to make reports under this Policy:
an officer of Envato, which includes directors of the board and the company secretary of Envato;
an Australian employee or contractor of Envato;
an individual who supplies services or goods to Envato;
a spouse, child or other relative of an individual listed above;
a dependant of any individual listed above or of their spouse; or
someone who was formerly any of the above (e.g. a former employee or contractor).
Under the Whistleblowing Legislation, the persons listed above (among others) are all eligible whistleblowers (including in relation to Tax Disclosures).
Who to report conduct to
Receiving disclosures is a process that requires careful training to ensure whistleblower protections are maintained. Reports can be made confidentially and anonymously at any time via the following methods:
by contacting Benstar via Envato’s intranet here or by calling 1300 360 364;
Tax Disclosures can also be made confidentially and anonymously at any time to Envato’s Chief Financial Officer ([email protected]).
Whistleblowers are encouraged to directly report any disclosure via the methods set out in sections 2.8 and 2.9 above. The making of a report via any of those methods will mean that it has been made to an eligible recipient under the Whistleblowing Legislation
Under the Whistleblowing Legislation, whistleblowers may also report such information to the following additional 'eligible recipients':
any member of Envato’s board or Nav Team; and
in the case of a Tax Disclosure, an auditor, or a member of an audit team conducting an audit of Envato or any related body corporate of Envato;
Under the Whistleblowing Legislation, whistleblowers may also report disclosable matters to:
the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions (ASIC);
the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA);
in relation to Tax Disclosures, the Commissioner of Taxation (ATO); or
any other prescribed Commonwealth authority or regulator.
However, if a whistleblowing report is made to one of these regulators Envato will not automatically become aware of that report and therefore may not be able to respond to it in accordance with this Policy.
A report will also qualify for protection where an eligible whistleblower makes a disclosure to a legal practitioner for the purposes of obtaining legal advice or legal representation about the operation of the Whistleblower Legislation, even in circumstances where the legal practitioner concludes that a disclosure does not relate to a 'disclosable matter'.
A whistleblower can obtain additional information about making a disclosure, including which Policy to make a disclosure under, by contacting Envato’s General Counsel ([email protected]).
How to make a disclosure
Disclosures should include as much of the following information as possible if known by the person reporting the misconduct:
what occurred and who was involved;
how the misconduct arose; and
where and when the misconduct occurred.
Whistleblowers are able to make an anonymous disclosure and still be entitled to the protections set out in this Policy and under the Whistleblowing Legislation if the other requirements for making the disclosure are complied with. Whistleblowers can remain anonymous over the course of the investigation and after any investigation has been finalised. A whistleblower may refuse to answer questions that they feel could reveal their identity during follow-up conversations.
However, if the whistleblower's identity is not provided when making a whistleblowing report this:
will prevent Envato from updating the whistleblower on Envato's efforts taken in response to their disclosure; and
may affect Envato's ability to take steps to protect the whistleblower from detriment.
Even if a whistleblower does not make the report on an anonymous basis the person receiving the report is not permitted to reveal the identity of the whistleblower, or information that is likely to lead to the identification of the whistleblower, except in certain circumstances as set out in section 4 below.
Disclosures outside of Envato
Generally only reports that are made to the list of people or entities set out in sections 2.8, 2.9, 2.11 and 2.12 above will ensure protections are afforded to the whistleblower making the report. Except in the circumstances set out below in section 2.23 or 2.24, making reports to others outside of Envato will otherwise not obtain the protection of the Whistleblowing Legislation or any other protections provided by this Policy.
There are two categories of disclosure that a whistleblower may make to a journalist or a Member of Parliament and still obtain the protections of the Whistleblower Legislation. These are called Public Interest Disclosures and Emergency Disclosures.
A whistleblower should contact an independent legal adviser before making a public interest disclosure or an emergency disclosure.
Public Interest Disclosure - this category allows a whistleblower to make a disclosure to a journalist or parliamentarian if:
the whistleblower has previously made a disclosure to ASIC, APRA or any other prescribed Commonwealth authority;
at least 90 days have passed since the disclosure was made to ASIC, APRA or any other prescribed Commonwealth authority;
the whistleblower does not have reasonable grounds to believe that action is being taken to address the matters to which the previous disclosure related;
the whistleblower has reasonable grounds to believe that making a further disclosure of the information would be in the public interest; and
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.
Emergency Disclosure - this category allows a whistleblower to make a disclosure to a journalist or a parliamentarian if:
the whistleblower has previously made a disclosure to ASIC, APRA or any other prescribed Commonwealth authority;
the whistleblower 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
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 an emergency disclosure.
For both Public Interest and Emergency Disclosures, the extent of the information disclosed must be no greater than is necessary to appropriately inform the recipient of the relevant misconduct or substantial imminent danger.
Unless a disclosure is being made under those provisions, speaking to a journalist or a member of parliament about confidential information in relation to Envato without authorisation is not permitted and may be a disciplinary offence.
3. Handling of reports
Investigation of Reports
All reported disclosures will be reviewed, and where appropriate will be investigated at the earliest opportunity. Envato will endeavour to manage any findings promptly. The way a disclosure is managed depends on what it involves and will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Investigations will be subject to the confidentiality and other protections set out under this Policy and will be undertaken by the appropriate person, in and/or outside Envato, depending on the nature of the investigation.
In order to ensure that any investigations and actions undertaken are fair and unbiased, it may be necessary for Envato to:
obtain specialist, independent advice from trained investigation staff inside Envato or to refer the matter confidentially to a third-party investigation firm, if deemed appropriate having regard to the nature of the disclosable matter(s);
appoint a person to assist in the investigation of a matter which is the subject of a report; or
refer the matter to the police or law enforcement where disclosures refer to, or include, criminal behaviour.
In the conduct of an investigation, Envato may proceed as follows:
determine the nature and scope of the investigation;
speak to anyone who may be affected or involved in the disclosure so that they are provided with the opportunity to respond to the allegation(s);
consider these responses; and
speak to witnesses (where there is a dispute as to the facts surrounding the allegations).
The findings of any investigation into a disclosure (together with any remediation action plan) will be subject to the confidentiality obligations set out in this Policy. The method for documenting and reporting the findings will depend on the nature of the disclosure. In most cases, a final investigation report will be provided to Envato's Chief People Officer, General Counsel and Chief Executive Officer. In the case of a Tax Disclosure, the final investigation report will also be provided to Envato’s Chief Financial Officer. Where necessary, any final investigation report may be redacted to protect the whistleblower's identity or information that may identify the whistleblower.
Fair treatment of employees that are the subject of a disclosure
Envato is also committed to ensuring the fair treatment of employees and other persons engaged by Envato who are referred to in reports of disclosable matters. Fair treatment of those persons includes but is not limited to:
the opportunity to be 'heard' on, and respond to the allegations against them before any adverse findings are made against them; and
the opportunity to have their responses considered by Envato and, in appropriate circumstances, investigated.
If you are implicated in a report regarding a disclosable matter which is being investigated and you believe that you are being treated adversely during the course of the review of the matter, you should report your concerns to Envato's Chief People Officer ([email protected]) and/or General Counsel ([email protected]), so that these matters may be addressed.
Envato will endeavour to respond promptly to any complaints about unfair treatment during the investigation of a disclosure that are raised by implicated parties.
Providing updates to those making misconduct disclosures
Envato will, where appropriate, provide the whistleblower with updates at various stages of any investigation into the disclosure. Any updates supplied to a whistleblower may need to be limited in order to also preserve the confidentiality of an investigation and the privacy of those potentially affiliated, named, implicated or associated with the matters disclosed. The frequency and detail of any updates supplied (where appropriate), and the initiation or resolution of any potential subsequent investigation, may vary according to the matters reported and the context of the misconduct disclosed. Any updates will be provided to the whistleblower by Envato's Chief People Officer and/or General Counsel.
Envato will, where appropriate, advise the whistleblower of the conclusion of any investigation and may provide the whistleblower with details of the outcomes of that investigation. Where claims cannot be substantiated, and the whistleblower’s identity is known – Envato reserves the right to deem a disclosure closed and notify the whistleblower accordingly.
4. Protection and Support of Whistleblowers
You may choose to make a report on an anonymous basis, however, there are a number of advantages in connection with the investigation process if you disclose your identity.
If you do disclose your identity and you are an 'eligible whistleblower' who is making a disclosure protected by the Whistleblowing Legislation, the recipient has an obligation to keep your identity confidential. This includes keeping confidential information which could lead to the disclosure of your identity.
Envato has the legal right to share a whistleblower’s identity if reasonably necessary to refer an incident to authorities (such as ASIC, APRA and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) or other prescribed body) who may wish to pursue the matter.
Under the Whistleblowing Legislation, it is also permissible to:
disclose information regarding the suspected or actual wrongdoing disclosed without revealing the whistleblower’s identity or information that is likely to lead to the identification of the whistleblower;
disclose information other than the whistleblower’s identity if it is reasonably necessary for the purposes of the investigation and all reasonable steps are taken to reduce the risk that the whistleblower will be identified;
disclose the identity of a whistleblower, or information likely to lead to his or her identification to a legal practitioner for the purposes of obtaining legal advice or representation in relation to the disclosure; or
disclose the identity of a whistleblower where such disclosure is made with the consent of the whistleblower.
In order to allow for a proper investigation of the matter, and to provide support to the whistleblower, the recipient of your disclosure may ask you to consent to the disclosure of your identity to specific individuals, such as:
any other persons reasonably necessary for the purposes of investigating matters the subject of your disclosure.
To ensure the confidentiality of a whistleblower’s identity, Envato will take steps to ensure:
all personal information or reference to the whistleblower witnessing an event is redacted;
the whistleblower is referred to in a gender-neutral context;
where possible, the whistleblower is contacted to help identify certain aspects of their disclosure that could inadvertently identify them; and
disclosures are handled and investigated by qualified staff.
If you are the recipient of a report from a whistleblower relating to a disclosable matter, you must not reveal the identity, or information that is likely to lead to identification, of the whistleblower without the written consent of the whistleblower or express permission from Envato's General Counsel to make the disclosure. Such action is illegal and may constitute a criminal offence.
Whistleblowers can be assured that any information released in breach of this Policy will be treated seriously and may result in disciplinary action, including dismissal. A breach of this Policy may in certain circumstances also result in criminal sanctions. Whistleblowers should report any suspected or actual breaches of confidentiality to Envato's General Counsel at [email protected].
Envato is committed to protecting and respecting the rights of whistleblowers. Envato will not tolerate any detriment caused, or threatened to be caused against any person who has made, or who is believed to have made, a report regarding disclosable matters. Under the Whistleblowing Legislation, 'detriment' is defined to include, without limitation, any of the following:
injuring an employee in their employment, (e.g. not giving an employee legal entitlements such as pay or leave);
changing an employee's job to their disadvantage;
offering a potential employee different (and unfair) terms and conditions for the job, compared to other employees;
discriminating between employees to the disadvantage of a whistleblower;
harassment or intimidation of a person;
harm or injury to a person, including psychological harm;
not hiring someone because they have been a whistleblower;
damage to a person’s property, reputation, business or financial position; or
any other damage to a person.
Any victimisation, retaliation or detriment caused or threatened to be caused in reprisal for a report regarding disclosable matters being made under this Policy will be treated as misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, which may include dismissal (or termination of engagement). If you experience or discover any such detrimental conduct, or potential conduct, you should report it immediately via the methods set out in section 2.12 of this Policy or to Envato's Chief People Officer at [email protected] or General Counsel at [email protected].
Where appropriate, to protect a whistleblower from the risk of detriment Envato may:
conduct a risk assessment of the whistleblower, and any other staff that might be suspected of having made a disclosure;
allow a whistleblower to perform their duties from another location;
reassign the whistleblower to another role (at the same level);
make modifications to the whistleblower's workplace or the way work duties are carried out; or
reassign or relocate other staff involved in the disclosable matter.
In some circumstances, Envato may be required to take administrative action to protect whistleblowers from detriment. This is not detrimental conduct. It will also not be detrimental conduct under this Policy where Envato is required to manage a whistleblower's unsatisfactory work performance in line with Envato’s performance management procedures. Where appropriate, Envato will inform the whistleblower about the reason for any administrative or management action.
If you experience or discover any detrimental conduct, or potential conduct, you should report it immediately via the methods set out in section 2.12 above or to Envato's Chief People Officer ([email protected]) or General Counsel ([email protected]). Envato will investigate any complaint of detriment to a whistleblower as a separate matter. That matter will be investigated by an officer who is not involved in the investigation of any relevant disclosure(s) and the investigation findings will be provided to Envato's Chief People Officer, General Counsel and Chief Executive Officer. A whistleblower may seek independent legal advice or contact regulatory bodies (such as ASIC or APRA) if they believe they have suffered detriment.
5. Additional Protections & Penalties
Under the Whistleblowing Legislation, a person may bring civil proceedings for a compensation order or pursue civil penalties even when a criminal prosecution has not been, or cannot be, pursued. This may include circumstances in which a whistleblower (or any other person) has suffered loss, damage or injury and Envato has failed to prevent a person from causing the detriment.
Support of whistleblowers
Envato firmly believes that those who reasonably suspect or witness misconduct should be able to report their suspicions with the confidence that they will be supported, and not punished or discriminated against for making a disclosure.
Whistleblowers are encouraged to raise any concerns arising out of a disclosure (or anticipated disclosure) or any subsequent investigation process to Envato's Chief People Officer ([email protected]) or General Counsel ([email protected]).
So as to ensure whistleblowers are supported both during, and following the making of a disclosure, Envato encourages whistleblowers to make use of Envato's employment assistance program or EAP provider Benstar via Envato’s intranet here or by calling 1300 360 364.
Criminal or civil liability
Whistleblowers who make a Qualifying Disclosure will not be subject to any civil or criminal liability for making the disclosure. No contractual or other remedy may be enforced against them on the basis of their disclosure.
Action may still be lawfully taken against a whistleblower who has engaged in misconduct, but Qualifying Disclosures cannot be used in any proceedings.
The whistleblower is not protected from civil or criminal liability for any of their conduct which may be revealed by the report. However, if a whistleblower reports misconduct and actively cooperates in an investigation that might implicate them in the misconduct, the fact they have made a report may be taken into account as a mitigating factor when determining what action should be taken against them.
Please direct any questions regarding this Policy to Envato's General Counsel ([email protected]).