Whistleblower Policy

Australia & New Zealand


1. PURPOSE

Mecca Brands Pty Ltd and each of its related entities (Mecca) is committed to ensuring a workplace with the highest standards of conduct and ethical behaviour.

Whistleblowing refers to the act of raising concerns about potential, suspected, or actual misconduct within Mecca and is a key governance initiative to ensure transparency and accountability across Mecca.

The purpose of Mecca's Whistleblower Policy (Policy) is to ensure that individuals are aware of how to make a disclosure that is eligible for the enforceable protections that are available under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) (Whistleblower Laws).

This policy will be made available to officers and employees of the company via the Employee Mecca Base and made available to external stakeholders through our company websites, mecca.com.au and meccabeauty.co.nz.


2. POLICY APPLICATION

To be eligible for the protections under the Whistleblower Laws, there are certain conditions that must be met:

  • you must be an Eligible Whistleblower;
  • you must make the disclosure to an Eligible Recipient; and
  • you must make the disclosure about a Disclosable Matter.

This Policy refers to meeting all of the above requirements as making a Protected Disclosure. If you make a Protected Disclosure you are entitled to enforceable protections. These enforceable protections are set out at Appendix A.


3. WHO IS AN ELIGIBLE WHISTLEBLOWER

To be protected under the Whistleblower Laws, a disclosure must be made by an 'Eligible Whistleblower.' An Eligible Whistleblower is any current or former:

  • Employee (including directors, managers, interns and temporary staff);
  • Officer;
  • Contractor, supplier, consultant, service provider, business partner (including employees of suppliers); and
  • Associate, as well as dependents (or their spouses dependent) and relatives of the above parties.

If local legislation, regulation, or laws provide a higher level of protection than what is included in this Policy, the local legislation will take precedence.


4. WHO IS AN ELIGIBLE RECIPIENT

An Eligible Whistleblower must make the disclosure to an 'Eligible Recipient'. An Eligible Recipient is any of the following:

  • Mecca's appointed Protected Disclosure Officer (details below);
  • An “officer” or “senior manager” as defined in the Corporations Act
  • Stopline (details below);
  • A director or company secretary of Mecca;
  • An auditor or member of an audit team conducting an audit of Mecca; and
  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

If the Protected Disclosure relates to Mecca's tax affairs, the Eligible Whistleblower may also make a disclosure to the following Eligible Recipients (in addition to the persons listed above (other than ASIC and APRA):

  • A registered tax agent;
  • Any other Mecca employee who has functions in relation to Mecca's tax affairs, such as Mecca's Chief Financial Officer; and
  • The Commissioner of Taxation.

Disclosures to a legal practitioner for the purposes of obtaining legal advice or legal representation in relation to the operation of the whistleblower provisions in the Corporations Act are also protected.

Protected Disclosure Officers

Mecca request that reports are made to any one of our Protected Disclosure Officers:

Kimberley Ferraro,
Head of Talent and Culture - Business Partnering
Phone: +614 06 158 654
Email: talent.culture@mecca.com.au

David Cumberland,
Head of Finance and Mecca Company Secretary
Phone: +613 9420 7348
Email: david.cumberland@mecca.com.au

Reports may also be mailed to ATT: Mecca Disclosure Officers, Mecca Brands 34 Wangaratta Street Richmond, VIC 3121, or marked to any of the Mecca Protected Disclosure Officers above.

Additionally, if you do not feel comfortable making a disclosure to a Mecca Protected Disclosure Officer, officer or senior manager, you may make a disclosure to our external, confidential hotline provider, Stopline.

Stopline

You can make a report to Stopline online, by email or phone. Stopline is an independent and confidential reporting service, that acts as an intermediary between you and Mecca. All parties to whom this Policy applies may use this service to disclose the Disclosable Matter.

You can contact Stopline through the following channels:

Phone: 1300 30 45 50 (AUS) or 0800 42 50 08 (NZ)
Email: report@stopline.com.au
Online: https://mecca.stoplinereport.com

Anonymous Reports

You may make an anonymous report or choose to disclose your identity, it is your choice. You do not need to disclose your identity to be eligible for protection under the Whistleblower Laws.

If you provide your contact details to Stopline or another Eligible Recipient these contact details will only be provided to the Protected Disclosure Officer if you consent.

In general, providing your name facilitates the process of addressing your disclosure. If you do not provide your name, the investigation will be conducted as best as possible with the information provided.


5. WHAT IS A DISCLOSABLE MATTER?

Protection is available for an Eligible Whistleblower who makes a disclosure about a 'Disclosable Matter' to an Eligible Recipient. The following is a Disclosable Matter:

  • Under the Corporations Act, information:
    • about actual or suspected misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstances in relation to Mecca; or
    • that Mecca or a director, officer or employee of Mecca has engaged in conduct that:
      • contravenes or constitutes an offence against certain legislation such as the Corporations Act, the ASIC Act 2001, the Banking Act 1959, the Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, or the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993;
      • represents a danger to the public or the financial system; or
      • constitutes an offence against any law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more.
  • Under the Taxation Administration Act, any information about misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstances in relation to the tax affairs of Mecca, which the Eligible Whistleblower considers may assist an Eligible Recipient to perform functions or duties in relation to Mecca's tax affairs.

Examples of Disclosable Matters may include, but are not limited to, conduct that is:

  • illegal, dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt;
  • unethical or in breach of Mecca’s Company policies;
  • potentially damaging to Mecca, a team member or a third party, such as unsafe work practices, environmental damage, health risks or abuse of Mecca property or resources; or
  • an abuse of authority.

Disclosable Matters generally do not include Personal work-related grievances, as described below.


6. WHAT IS A PERSONAL WORK-RELATED GRIEVANCE

Personal work-related grievances are not Disclosable Matters and should be raised directly with your Manager, Human Resources Manager or any other Mecca leader that you feel comfortable raising the matter with.

Personal work-related grievances are issues in relation to your employment with Mecca that have implications for you personally (i.e. matters solely related to your personal employment). Examples of personal work-related grievances include:

  • a conflict between the aggrieved and another employee;
  • a decision relating to the engagement, transfer or promotion of the aggrieved;
  • a decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the aggrieved; and
  • a decision to suspend or terminate the engagement of the aggrieved, or otherwise to discipline the aggrieved.

In some limited instances, a purely Personal work-related grievance may be a Disclosable Matter. This only occurs if:

  • The discloser is threatened with or suffers from detriment because they have made a disclosure;
  • The disclosers seeks legal advice or legal representation about the operation of the whistleblower protections under the Corporations Act; or
  • Mecca has breached employment or other laws punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more, engaged in conduct that represents a danger to the public, or the disclosure relates to information that suggests misconduct beyond the discloser’s personal circumstances.

7. OVERVIEW OF THE REPORTING AND INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS

Whistleblower Policy

8. INVESTIGATION OF A PROTECTED DISCLOSURE

Matters raised under this Policy will be received and treated seriously with a high level of sensitivity and confidentiality.

Whilst making a report does not guarantee that the matter will be formally investigated, all reports will be assessed and considered by Mecca and a decision made as to whether they should be investigated in accordance with this policy.

Reports alleging a Disclosable Matter will be assessed to:

  • determine if and how they should be investigated in accordance with this Policy; and
  • determine whether the Disclosable Matter is of a serious nature.

A decision whether to investigate will be made within 30 days.

Where the matter is serious, the Mecca Protected Disclosure Officers (or their delegate) must immediately notify the head of Mecca’s Risk Committee.

In all cases:

  • All parties to which this policy applies must cooperate fully with any investigations.
  • The Protected Disclosure Officer may investigate the matter directly or may appoint an Investigation Officer to investigate the matter.
  • The Human Resources Director or another Protected Disclosure Officer may be consulted to determine how Mecca will respond and/or report the matter.
  • If the matter relates to either of the Protected Disclosure Officers, the Head of the Risk Committee will nominate an alternative investigator. If appropriate, this may be an external legal provider.
  • Unless there are confidentiality or other reasons not to do so, individuals to whom the disclosure relates will be informed of the allegation at an appropriate time and will be given a chance to respond to the allegations made against them.
  • Where Mecca considers it appropriate to do so, we will provide feedback to the Eligible Whistleblower regarding the investigation progress and or outcome.
  • Where a report is submitted anonymously, Mecca will conduct the investigation and its enquiries based on the information provided to it.

9. OUTCOME OF INVESTIGATIONS AND REPORTING PROCEDURES

At the end of the investigation, the Investigation Officer or Protected Disclosure Officer must submit a report to the Mecca Risk Committee, which will remain confidential.

Where an investigation identifies a breach of Mecca’s Code of Conduct or other internal policies or procedures, appropriate disciplinary action may be taken. This may include, but is not limited to, terminating or suspending the employment or engagement of the person(s) involved in the Disclosable Matter. If the report finds that there has been a suspected or an actual breach of the law, Mecca may refer the matter to the relevant legal authority.

It is important for individuals to know that Eligible Whistleblowers can still receive protection under the Whistleblower Laws if their Protected Disclosure turns out to be incorrect.


10. REPORTING PROCEDURES AND REVIEW OF POLICY

The Disclosure Officers will be responsible for preparing periodic reports on the number and type of Protected Disclosures. These reports will also be presented at the Mecca Risk Committee at regular intervals to ensure the Company Directors have full visibility and transparency about Protected Disclosures. The Risk Committee will determine whether any matters need to be considered by the Company Directors.

The relevant Protected Disclosure Officer will provide the Company Directors with immediate visibility of any disclosure of a serious nature. The Protected Disclosure Officer will also, at least annually, provide the Company Directors with a summary of disclosures made under this Policy and additional information about any material incidents raised.

All reporting of matters investigated in accordance with this Policy will remain confidential. All steps will be taken to de-identify the discloser and any information that may lead to the disclosure of the identity of the discloser will be excluded from the report.


11. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER POLICIES

This Policy should be read in conjunction with the following Mecca policies:

  • Mecca Brands Code of Conduct

12. POLICY AMENDMENT

This Policy will be reviewed from time to time to ensure that it remains effective and meets best practice standards and the needs of Mecca.


13. LAST AMENDED

December 2019


APPENDIX A
PROTECTIONS PROVIDED BY LAW


1. SPECIAL PROTECTIONS AND REMEDIES FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS

Mecca is committed to ensuring confidentiality in respect of all matters raised under this Policy, and that those who make a report are treated fairly and respectfully and do not suffer detriment.

(a) Protecting your identity

Mecca’s priority is to protect the identity of people who make a report. It is illegal for Mecca to disclose the identity of an individual who has made a Protected Disclosure. If you make a Protected Disclosure, your identity will only be disclosed if you give your consent to Mecca or if the disclosure is required by law

All files and records relating to a Protected Disclosure report or investigation will be stored and contained securely and confidentially.

(b) Protection against detrimental conduct

Mecca must not subject or threaten to subject an individual who has made a Protected Disclosure to detrimental treatment because they have made or may make a Protected Disclosure.

Detrimental treatment includes dismissal, demotion, harassment, discrimination, disciplinary action, bias, threats or other unfavourable treatment.

If you believe you are subjected to detrimental treatment because you made a Protected Disclosure, you should inform the Protected Disclosure Officer listed in the Policy. If you consider the matter has not been appropriately addressed, you can refer it directly to the Human Resources Director.

(c) Other Protections

An Eligible Whistleblower who makes a Protected Disclosure will be protected from any civil, criminal or administrative liability for making the disclosure. No contractual or other remedies can be enforced against the Eligible Whistleblower if the contractual or other remedy is exercised on the basis of them having made a Protected Disclosure.

Individuals can seek compensation and other remedies through the Courts if they suffer loss or damage, or if Mecca fails to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence in protecting them from such loss.

Eligible Whistleblowers should also know that in limited circumstances (e.g. if the disclosure has been made to a regulator) the information disclosed is not admissible in evidence against the Eligible Whistleblower in criminal proceedings or in proceedings for the imposition of a penalty, other than proceedings in respect of the falsity of the information.


2. FAIR TREATMENT AND SUPPORT

Mecca is committed to ensuring fair treatment of all individuals involved in a Protected Disclosure, including both the Eligible Whistleblower and any persons named in a disclosure.

To support individuals involved in the disclosure process, Mecca may offer:

  • the option of paid or unpaid leave;
  • reassignment of duties;
  • relocation; or
  • support through Mecca's external employee assistance program, Acacia

3. OTHER PROTECTED DISCLOSURES

In certain circumstances, an Eligible Whistleblower can make a disclosure to a journalist or member of parliament and be protected under the Whistleblower Laws. The circumstances where such disclosures can be made include:

  • the discloser has reasonable grounds to believe that making a disclosure is in the public interest; and
    • the discloser has made a previous disclosure to ASIC or APRA (at least 90 days ago) and does not have reasonable grounds to believe that action is being taken; and
    • the discloser has given written notice to whomever the previous disclosure was made that states the discloser will make a further disclosure (Public Interest Disclosure).
  • the discloser has reasonable grounds to believe that the information concerns a substantial and imminent danger to a person’s health or safety or the natural environment; and
    • the discloser has made a previous disclosure to ASIC or APRA and does not have reasonable grounds to believe that action is being taken;
    • the discloser has given written notice to whomever the previous disclosure was made that states the discloser will make a further disclosure; and
    • the discloser only discloses information that is necessary to inform the recipient of the substantial and imminent danger (Emergency Disclosure).

Please contact a Protected Disclosure Officer if you would like more information about Public Interest Disclosures and Emergency Disclosures.