While many workplaces continue to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, employment law and the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures still apply. If you are facing disciplinary action or grievance procedures, you must be aware of your rights and how these might be affected by coronavirus restrictions.
If you are currently on furlough, it is still possible to be involved in disciplinary or grievance procedures. Whilst on furlough, employees may:
- Take part in a grievance or disciplinary investigation or hearing (including appeal)
- Raise a grievance
Under the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, disciplinary and grievance procedures must always be fair and reasonable. However, while the coronavirus pandemic continues, they must also be in line with public health guidelines, including social distancing and avoiding workplaces where possible. As a result, there may be practical challenges to holding disciplinary or grievance procedures, but they must continue without undue delay. Your employer must attempt to proceed in a safe, fair and reasonable manner. If this is not possible, they must consider whether it would be fair to suspend proceedings until a later date.
Can a disciplinary or grievance procedure be carried out remotely?
Yes. Video meetings can form part of any investigation into disciplinary or grievance matters and should be considered as an alternative to face to face meetings where restrictions are still in place. Your employer may conduct a video meeting, interview or hearing so long as the process is fair and reasonable. Your employer must consider whether:
- All parties have adequate access to the technology required to take part in a video meeting
- Any party has a disability or any other accessibility issues which may affect their ability to take part
- If it is possible to access all of the evidence required to conduct the investigation or hearing, and whether all parties can access the evidence during the video hearing.
- If it is possible to assess the evidence and question the relevant parties fairly during a video hearing
Will a video hearing be recorded?
Employers must keep a record of any disciplinary or grievance procedures carried out and meetings conducted via video may be recorded provided everyone involved agrees.
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