When companies break laws that ASIC does not enforce - video transcript

Transcript of video about disputes about employee entitlement, presented by William, ASIC's Misconduct and Breach Reporting team, uploaded 16 May 2016. 

There are different laws in Australia which companies and businesses, and their directors and officers must comply with, such as workplace relations, environmental issues, work health and safety and taxation. There are different government agencies responsible for different laws and receiving reports of misconduct relating to those laws.

Who do I report company or director misconduct to?

Who you should report to depends on what the misconduct is about. For example:

If a company has failed to pay your superannuation or isn't complying with its taxation obligations or similar – you should contact the Australian Taxation Office. However, if there are concerns about advice in relation to setting up or closing a self-managed super fund or investments made by a superannuation fund – you should contact ASIC.

If you believe a company is running a scam, making misleading claims and representations or there are concerns about consumer goods and services – you should contact either the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or the Office of Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs in your state or territory.

If you believe there is criminal conduct that is not about financial services or markets – you should contact the police in your state or territory.

If the company is not paying your entitlements such as wages or leave – you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.

If there are concerns about the company's impact on the environment – you should contact the Environment Protection Authority in you state or territory.

What company misconduct is ASIC responsible for?

ASIC is responsible for several pieces of legislation which mainly includes the Corporations Act and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act. For companies, company directors and officers, ASIC is responsible for:

  • failure to seek approval for a related party transaction
  • misuse of the company's officers' position to gain an advantage for themselves
  • conduct before entering external administration aimed at defeating the interest of creditors
  • misrepresentation about the company's financial position, and
  • acting as a director of a company while disqualified or bankrupt.

What about ASIC's role in misconduct that other agencies are responsible for?

ASIC does not generally get involved in alleged misconduct relating to a breach of law that another government department of agency enforces. Such breaches, however, don't necessarily mean that the company's directors or officers have also breached their duties under the Corporations Act.

If another government agency receives a report about a company or its directors and they think we should investigate they will refer it to ASIC.

If we receive a report initially we are likely to refer to the primary regulator or agency or encourage reporters to do the same.

With any report we receive ASIC will only take action if there is enough evidence and our action will benefit the general public more broadly.

What happens if I report something to ASIC that another government agency handles?

We will talk you about that and give you the contact details of the more appropriate agency or, with your permission, refer it to that agency for you.

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Last updated: 20/12/2022 03:02