WeWork Promotes Honest And Ethical Behaviour In All Its Business Activities. To Achieve This, Employees Should Report Any Serious Wrongdoing–Including Corrupt, Illegal, Or Other Misconduct–Without Fear Of Discrimination Or Disadvantage.
WeWork Will Investigate These Reports While Supporting And Protecting Whistleblowers.
This Whistleblower Policy (AUS) ("Policy") applies to all current and former:
WeWork associates; and
Contractors (including their employees–whether paid or unpaid and including volunteers) who supply goods or services to WeWork,
plus their spouses, dependents, and other relatives (collectively, "Workers").
Disclosures are reports of suspected wrongdoing involving WeWork–including corrupt, illegal, or other wrongdoing.
Workers who make Disclosures under this Policy are Whistleblowers.
You should disclose a matter if you have "reasonable grounds" to suspect that the information concerns misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances with relation to WeWork (a "Wrongdoing"). Wrongdoings include (without limitation) conduct that:
Is an offence against or a contravention of a provision of any of the following legislation and any instrument made under any of the following legislation:
Corporations Act 2001 (Cth);
Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth);
Banking Act 1959 (Cth);
Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (Cth);
Insurance Act 1973 (Cth);
Life Insurance Act 1995 (Cth);
National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth); or
Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth);
Is an offence against any other law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more;
Is not necessarily a contravention of a particular law, but nonetheless represents a significant risk to public safety or the stability of or confidence in the financial system; or
Is prescribed by regulation.
Some examples of Wrongdoings are:
Tax evasion or avoidance; and
Misconduct within the corporate sector.
"Reasonable grounds" means that a reasonable person in the Worker's position would suspect that the information concerns a Wrongdoing in relation to WeWork.
Personal work-related grievances, such as:
A personal conflict with another employee (e.g., in pursuit of a personal grudge);
The Worker's employment or its terms;
A transfer or promotion that the Worker received or did not receive;
The suspension or termination of the Worker's employment; or
Disciplinary action vis-a-vis the Worker,
are not covered by this Policy, and instead should be referred to your People Partner.
This Policy also does not apply to matters that are otherwise covered in the Global Anti-Harassment Policy, Health & Safety Policy, or Internal Data Use & Monitoring Policy.
Exception: A personal work-related grievance may still qualify for protection under this Policy if it also relates to a disclosable matter (i.e., it is a mixed disclosure).
All of the following types of Disclosures are protected under this Policy:
Workers may make Disclosures securely and/or outside of business hours.
Workers may also obtain additional information prior to making a disclosure by contacting WeWork Legal Counsel, WeWork Australia or ASIC.
A Worker may make a Disclosure verbally or in writing to:
An officer of WeWork (such as company directors or the company secretary);
The General Manager of Australia;
Legal Counsel, Australia;
Head of People, Pacific;
An actuary of WeWork; or
An auditor or member of the audit team.
The individuals described in #1-#4 above are collectively referred to as Manager.
Outside of WeWork, a Worker can also make a Disclosure to:
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC);
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA);
Another Commonwealth body prescribed by regulation; or
A lawyer, for the purpose of receiving legal advice about how the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) ("Act") applies.
A Worker may only make a public interest disclosure if:
The Worker made a Disclosure to ASIC or APRA in compliance with this Policy;
90 days have passed since the Disclosure was made;
The Worker does not have reasonable grounds to believe that action is being or has been taken to address their concerns; and
The Worker has reasonable grounds to believe that reporting their concerns to a journalist or parliamentarian would be in the public interest.
Workers should consider contacting an independent legal adviser before making a public interest disclosure.
The Worker may make a public interest disclosure by:
First, providing written disclosure to ASIC or APRA that includes:
Sufficient information to identify the initial Disclosure that was made at least 90 days earlier; and
A statement of the Worker's intention to make a public interest disclosure.
Second, reporting their concern about a Wrongdoing to a journalist or parliamentarian
A Worker may only make an emergency disclosure if:
The Worker made a disclosure to ASIC or APRA in compliance with this Policy; and
The Worker has reasonable grounds to believe that the information in their Disclosure concerns substantial and imminent danger to (a) the health or safety of one or more people, or (b) the natural environment.
Workers should consider contacting an independent legal adviser before making an emergency disclosure.
The Worker may make an emergency disclosure by:
First, providing written disclosure to ASIC or APRA that includes:
Sufficient information to identify the initial Disclosure; and
A statement of the Worker's intention to make an emergency disclosure.
Second, reporting their concern about a Wrongdoing to a journalist or parliamentarian.
WeWork encourages Whistleblowers to provide their name and contact details, as doing so greatly facilitates investigation into the Disclosure.
However, Workers are not required to provide identifying information and may instead opt to make a Disclosure anonymously. In these instances, anonymous Whistleblowers should maintain ongoing two-way communication (e.g., via Convercent or an anonymizing email address) so that investigators can ask follow-up questions or provide feedback; failure to do so may prevent WeWork from undertaking an investigation.
Anonymous Whistleblowers may refuse to answer questions they feel could reveal their identity.
WeWork will protect Whistleblowers' identities (see "Protecting Whistleblowers" below), but nonetheless, some circumstances may arise in which the Whistleblower's identity is revealed, such as:
The Whistleblower has previously told others they were considering making a Disclosure;
The Whistleblower is one of a small number of people with access to the information contained in the Disclosure; or
The information contained in the Disclosure was communicated to the Whistleblower in private or in confidence.
Once a Disclosure is made, WeWork will assess whether it qualifies for protection and whether a formal, in-depth investigation is required. If the latter, WeWork will commence an investigation as soon as practicable and will apply principles of procedural fairness and natural justice to all parties involved, including individuals who may be the subject of a Disclosure. The Manager will be responsible for ensuring the investigation is properly conducted and may appoint and oversee an independent third-party to investigate the allegations. However, an investigation will not be conducted by anyone (1) who may be the subject of the investigation, or (2) has actual or perceived links to a person accused of Wrongdoing.
The length of time required to conduct an investigation will vary on a case-by-case basis. Where possible, the Whistleblower will be kept informed of the progress and/or outcome of the investigation–subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations. The frequency and timing of such communications may vary depending on the nature of the Disclosure.
The investigator may prepare a report at the conclusion of the investigation. If so, this report will include the investigator's findings and a summary of the evidence on which the findings are based.
Once the investigation is complete, the Manager will determine what action (if any) should be taken.
WeWork supports a Worker's right to make Disclosures and provides the following protections, subject to the stated limitations:
WeWork will take reasonable steps to ensure information that identifies the disclosing Worker (or may lead to their identification) is kept confidential throughout the investigation process - regardless of whether the Worker disclosed anonymously. This includes ensuring that disclosures will be handled and investigated by qualified staff, and may also include setting up information barriers.
It is illegal for a person to identify a Whistleblower, or disclose information that is likely to lead to the identification of the Whistleblower, outside of the limitations listed to the right. If this occurs, a Whistleblower may lodge a separate complaint about breach of confidentiality internally with WeWork or externally with a regulator (e.g., ASIC, APRA).
WeWork may be required to disclose identifying information:
To ASIC, APRA, or a member of the Australian Federal Police;
To a lawyer (for purposes of obtaining legal advice or representation about the whistleblower provisions of the Act);
If necessary to give effect to the Act;
To a person or body prescribed by regulations;
If a court or tribunal finds it necessary in the interests of justice; or
With the Worker's consent.
WeWork strictly prohibits all forms of Detrimental Conduct against Whistleblowers. Detrimental conduct means any actual or threatened conduct that could cause detriment to a Whistleblower as a result of making a Disclosure, including:
Termination of employment;
Harassment, bullying, or intimidation;
Personal or financial disadvantage;
Harm or injury, including psychological harm;
Damage to reputation; or
Any other conduct that constitutes retaliation.
WeWork will take reasonable steps to prevent and stop Detrimental Conduct based on a belief or suspicion that the Worker made a Disclosure.
Whistleblowers who believe they have suffered Detrimental Conduct are encouraged to report the matter internally to WeWork, seek independent legal advice, or contact a regulatory body.
Not all action following a Disclosure amounts to Detrimental Conduct. For example, poor work performance may still be managed in accordance with performance management procedures.
Whistleblowers who make a Disclosure according to this Policy and the Act will not be subject to any civil, criminal, or administrative liability for making the Disclosure.
In addition, WeWork will not seek to enforce or exercise a contractural or other remedy against Whistleblowers on the basis of a Disclosure. For example, if a Whistleblower breaches confidentiality obligations in their employment agreement in order to make a disclosure, the Whistleblower will not be held liable for breaching that contractual provision.
Whistleblowers may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, for their own personal misconduct or role in the Wrongdoing that is revealed by the Disclosure.
WeWork supports Whistleblowers by:
Allowing Workers to utilise paid or unpaid leave of absence upon making a Disclosure;
Training Managers on how to treat Whistleblowers and ensure Whistleblowers are protected; and
Providing access to WeWork's Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
WeWork also encourages Whistleblowers to talk to an independent legal adviser regarding what other remedies may be available.
Q: What if someone makes a knowingly false Disclosure?
A: If WeWork determines that an individual knowingly made a false Disclosure, it may take disciplinary action against that individual, which can include termination of employment.
Q: Can WeWork disclose information contained in a Disclosure without the Whistleblower's consent?
A: Yes, under the following circumstances:
The information does not include the discloser's identity;
WeWork has taken all reasonable steps to reduce the risk that the Whistleblower will be identified from the information; and
It is reasonably necessary to investigate the issues raised in the Disclosure.
Q: What if a Worker discloses a matter that does not ultimately qualify as a Disclosure?
A: WeWork may still investigate the matter and the Worker may still qualify for protections under this Policy.
Q: May Workers address Disclosure-related issues through the courts?
A: Yes, Workers may seek compensation and other remedies through courts if (1) they suffer loss, damage, or injury because of a Disclosure, and (2) WeWork failed to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to prevent the Detrimental Conduct. Workers are encouraged to seek independent legal advice.
Q: Where can Workers access the Policy?
A: The Policy is available here and through the Australia People Policies page on WeWork Connect.
Please email email@example.com.