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13th May, 2020 by Sobia Ahmad
ACAS has now published guidance on conducting disciplinary and grievance procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.
Employers are still able to carry out these procedures, as long it would be fair and reasonable to do so while employees are furloughed or working from home, or while following public health guidelines and social distancing if employees are still in the workplace.
The guidance highlights that employees may currently be facing stressful circumstances and encourages employers to talk through the options with everyone involved before deciding whether or not to proceed. It may be appropriate to postpone if the matter is not urgent, would be dealt with more fairly when staff have returned to the workplace, or if anyone involved reasonably objects to going ahead at this time.
Where employers decide that it is fair and reasonable to proceed, they have to consider the practical aspects of dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues remotely (for example, via video conferencing). They need to ensure that a fair procedure can still be followed, and must comply with employment law and the existing ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
Employment law specialist, Sobia Ahmad comments:
“The ACAS guidance provides some much needed clarity, as the government guidance has remained silent on this issue to date. It confirms that furloughed employees can take part in disciplinary and grievance proceedings, as long as they are doing so voluntarily and public health guidance is observed.
Employers need to assess whether it will be fair and reasonable to conduct these procedures in the individual circumstances, which will vary in each case. They will also need to consider the practicalities and implications of conducting these procedures remotely.”
The ACAS guidance can be accessed here.
If you need assistance with conducting disciplinary and grievance procedures during these uncertain times, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the employment team.
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