Time for Laws to Protect Whistleblowers in Australia: Former Securities Exchange Commission Lawyer Says
The Sydney Morning Herald
November 9, 2016
Jordan A. Thomas describes the provisions required to protect whistleblowers in Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald interviewed Jordan A. Thomas, the Chair of the Firm’s Whistleblower Protection practice, to get his thoughts on the lack of whistleblower protection provisions in Australia. A component from the U.S. SEC Whistleblower Program that Australia should consider is granting anonymity to the whistleblower. “To me that's a very necessary and important way for Australia to honor the sacrifice and courage that whistleblowers show by speaking up," Thomas said.
Thomas finds confidentiality agreements that stop whistleblowers from disclosing information to authorities, which is illegal under the U.S. SEC Whistleblower Program, discouraging for whistleblowers in Australia. "I am very confident that these types of [confidentiality] agreements exist in Australia and they are particularly insidious because they discourage the reporting of violations of law both state and federal and all forms of violations—everything from sexual harassment to environmental crimes to securities violations."
Additionally, Thomas said Australia's current whistleblowing laws mean that "good guys" who call out wrongdoing by corporate entities are afforded fewer protections than those who have broken the law to participate in a cartel.
"It strikes me as a little inconsistent," Thomas said. "If it's OK to incentivize them to dob when they're bad guys, how about doing it for people who are good guys?"