Coronavirus (COVID-19)—handling disciplinary and grievance issues during the pandemic

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)—handling disciplinary and grievance issues during the pandemic
  • Acas Code continues to apply
  • Deciding whether a disciplinary or grievance procedure should go ahead
  • Communicating the decision
  • Where the decision is to go ahead with the process
  • Where the decision is to suspend the process
  • Individual circumstances must be considered
  • How to manage the process if the workplace is open
  • Carrying out a procedure remotely
  • Recording video meetings
  • More...

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—handling disciplinary and grievance issues during the pandemic

This Practice Note considers the Acas guidance on how to deal with disciplinary and grievance procedures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the adjustments it suggests that employers may need to make to implement the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (Acas Code) to ensure that any procedure is safe, fair and reasonable.

Self-isolation, social distancing, lockdown and other measures, which have been implemented to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), have significantly affected the way in which many workplaces operate, including how employers deal with disciplinary and grievance situations. Many employers may, consequently, find it difficult to implement in full the principles set out in the Acas Code, depending on the extent to which their workplaces have been disrupted by coronavirus.

Difficulties that employers may face, include:

  1. practical difficulties in conducting disciplinary or grievance investigations

  2. practical issues associated with convening a disciplinary or grievance meeting, whether remotely or face-to-face

  3. staffing challenges if managers, who would normally be responsible for conducting investigations or chairing disciplinary and appeal hearings, are working remotely, or are absent from work

  4. accommodating a worker’s right to be accompanied

  5. ensuring that disciplinary and grievance processes are dealt with without delay, despite potential logistical and staffing issues

  6. mental health considerations of staff members, generally, when it comes to disciplinary and grievance procedures

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