Each year the ACCC releases areas of enforcement they will be giving priority to. While all complaints are considered, the ACCC focuses on activities that result in widespread consumer detriment, and harm the competitive process. Some areas are considered so important to consumer protection they are always listed as priority, such as cartel conduct and anti-competitive agreements, and the misuse of market power. The ACCC reviews its priorities regularly. Click Here To Read More
The first decision to apply the latest amendments of the anti-cartel competition laws have resulted in damages of $22.4 million awarded to Norcast in an action against Bradken Limited for bid rigging and misleading and deceptive conduct. Two of Bradken’s directors, including former NSW Premier Nick Grenier were found accessorily liable. Significantly, the relevant conduct occurred outside Australia. Click Here To Read More
Whistle blowers represent both a threat and an opportunity for compliance officers. The obvious threat for compliance officers is that an employee who has identified an area of non-compliance within the company chooses to report the issue to an external regulator, the ramifications of which may include heavy penalties for the company. New whistle blower legislation in the US has made this option far more attractive for US employees, who could potentially receive around 30% of the recoveries that result from their cooperation. Click Here To Read More
The Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim released a statement on 25 January urging companies to begin preparing for the upcoming privacy reforms, due to come into effect in March 2014. In the release, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is recommending businesses prepare for the reforms by reviewing:
- privacy policies and information collection notices
- any outsourcing arrangements that might be in place, particularly if these involve the disclosure of personal information outside Australia
- direct marketing practices, including the availability of ‘opt out’ mechanisms. Click Here To Read More
There is an increasing level of scrutinisation of businesses and how they operate by corporate regulators. As the investigatory powers of the regulators gain strength, as well as wider access to more sophisticated monitoring technology, companies should be shifting their focus from “do we need to have a compliance training program” to, “how much compliance training is enough?”
HSBC made history this week by agreeing to pay a record $1.92 billion in settlement for failing to enforce rules designed to prevent the proceeds of criminal activity finding its way into the financial system. While the huge sum of money ensured sensational news headlines, the Deferred Prosecution Agreement signed by HSBC offers valuable information to compliance professionals on the broader repercussions of compliance and AML program failures. The agreement outlines the remedial measures and changes that must be undertaken by HSBC to address sanctions and money laundering risks, providing an indication of the true cost to a business found guilty of non-compliance with AML laws. Click Here To Read More
Australian business and market regulators are becoming more assertive in enforcing legal compliance and many regulators are being afforded more power to pursue suspects. Both the ACCC and ASIC, for example, have recently been given more power to investigate suspicious activities, and the maximum penalties and fines for those found guilty of offences have been increased significantly. In response, businesses are becoming more proactive in allocating greater resources to ensure compliance processes are up to date, and adequate in the eyes of the regulators. Click Here To Read More
For over a decade, Lance Armstrong has enjoyed the reputation of a hero. The world watched as he showed extraordinary personal strength to defeat cancer, and then win a record 7 consecutive Tour de France titles. We loved him as the cycling champion that trained harder, was more focused and raced faster than any of his competitors. Although there were rumours of performance enhancing drugs, most of us just believed Lance Armstrong was naturally the most dominant cyclist ever.
Fast forward to October 2012 – all that has changed. USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) released a 1000 page report containing compelling evidence of Lance Armstrong’s history of illegal doping. The report includes the sworn testimony of 26 people, including 15 of Armstrong’s former teammates, confirming illegal doping practices by Armstrong and his professional cycling team, US Postal Service (USPS). The report also details financial payments, emails and scientific data that, according to USADA, prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Armstrong and the USPS cycling team.
A Toxic Workplace Culture
It is your responsibility as an employer to provide and maintain a safe workplace for your employees. This doesn’t just apply in factories with lots of dangerous machinery. An office can also be a dangerous place, with potential hazards including tripping, falling, incorrect lifting and repetitive strain injuries.
A safe workplace is one that is free from hazards and compliant with all OHS regulations. It is an environment where employers and employees work together to prevent workplace injuries from occurring and the key to maintaining such an environment is communication.
The first thing you need to do to provide a safer working environment is to develop an organisational health and safety policy, setting out your procedures for:
Cartel behaviour is not the most widely discussed area of competition and consumer law (CCL), and according to research by University of Melbourne it is largely misunderstood by people operating in the business sector. However, cartels cause significant damage to the markets in which they operate. By participating in anti-competitive conduct, cartels drive prices higher, reduce available options and can lead to inferior product and services. Cartels can operate anywhere and in almost any industry; controlling a market for profit by stifling competition. This behaviour can represent a real threat to domestic and global economic growth.
Cartel conduct includes:
- Price fixing
- Market sharing and allocation
- Controlling output
- Bid rigging