New ACAS Guidance on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures during Coronavirus
ACAS has produced new guidance on handling disciplinary matters and grievances in the workplace during the pandemic, which asks employers to consider if it would be fair and reasonable to start or continue such procedures while their employees are on furlough, following social distancing measures at work, or working from home on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidance notes that any disciplinary or grievance procedure must be carried out in a way that follows public health guidelines around social distancing and closure or phased reopening of certain business premises, and employers should give careful consideration to the health and wellbeing of employees when deciding whether and how to proceed.
The guidance suggests that the employer should talk through options with everyone concerned in the grievance or disciplinary matter and any decisions as to whether or not to proceed should be clearly explained.
Staff who have been furloughed are still able to take part in a disciplinary/grievance investigation or hearing if they: have raised a grievance; are chairing a hearing; are taking notes at a hearing or investigation; are being interviewed or are a witness; or are accompanying a colleague at a hearing.
Where those involved in the procedures are still going to the workplace, interviews and meetings related to the procedures must be held in a place that allows for social distancing.
The guidance acknowledges that it is likely that employers will have to use video meetings to conduct interviews and hearings, and notes that employers should ensure everyone involved has access to the technology needed and any reasonable adjustments are made for individuals with disabilities.
The full guidance note can be found here: https://www.acas.org.uk/disciplinary-grievance-procedures-during-coronavirus?mc_cid=c204b8082e&mc_eid=2ff3706ef5 .