New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURES ACT 1994 - SECT 20

Protection against reprisals

20 Protection against reprisals

(1) A person who takes detrimental action against another person that is substantially in reprisal for the other person making a public interest disclosure is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.
(1A) In any proceedings for an offence against this section, it lies on the defendant to prove that detrimental action shown to be taken against a person was not substantially in reprisal for the person making a public interest disclosure.
(1B) A public official who takes detrimental action against another person that is substantially in reprisal for the other person making a public interest disclosure is guilty of engaging in conduct that constitutes misconduct in the performance of his or her duties as a public official and that justifies the taking of disciplinary action against the public official, including disciplinary action provided for:
(a) by or under an Act that regulates the employment or service of the public official, or
(b) by or under a contract of employment or contract for services that governs the employment or engagement of the public official.
(1C) This section extends to a case where the person who takes the detrimental action does so because the person believes or suspects that the other person made or may have made a public interest disclosure even if the other person did not in fact make a public interest disclosure.
(2) In this Act,
"detrimental action" means action causing, comprising or involving any of the following:
(a) injury, damage or loss,
(b) intimidation or harassment,
(c) discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to employment,
(d) dismissal from, or prejudice in, employment,
(e) disciplinary proceeding.
(3) Proceedings for an offence against this section may be instituted at any time within 3 years after the offence is alleged to have been committed.
(4) A public authority (other than an investigating authority and the NSW Police Force) must refer any evidence of an offence under this section to the Commissioner of Police or the Commission. Evidence of an offence that relates to the NSW Police Force must instead be referred to the LECC.
(5) An investigating authority (other than the Commission, the ICAC Inspector, the LECC and the LECC Inspector) must, after completing or discontinuing an investigation into an alleged offence under this section, refer any evidence of the offence to the Commissioner of Police. Evidence of an offence that relates to the NSW Police Force must instead be referred to the LECC.
(6) The NSW Police Force, the Commission, the ICAC Inspector, the LECC or the LECC Inspector must, after completing an investigation into an alleged offence under this section and forming the opinion that an offence has been committed, refer the alleged offence:
(a) to the Director of Public Prosecutions, by providing the Director of Public Prosecutions with a brief of evidence relating to the offence, or
(b) if the alleged offence relates to the Director of Public Prosecutions, to the Attorney General, by providing the Attorney General with a brief of evidence relating to the offence.



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