If you own a business or work in a managerial role, one of the new-found problems you may be facing is that of employees flouting lockdown rules and putting other employees at risk. But what exactly are you able to do to tackle this problem? If you have found that one of your team is flouting lockdown rules and are seeking help with approaching the matter, Shawthorpe is here to help.

How Do I Deal With Staff who Flout the Lockdown Rules?

When facing employees breaking lockdown rules, you may be wondering if this is a private or personal matter.

Recently, there have been issues raised within one of our major public sector industries where staff have broken the lockdown rules and are now facing reprimand and it is a lesson many businesses are taking on board.

How Can We Address this Situation and Find the Best Approach?

Some employers may not feel quite as confident in how to address a situation where an employee is clearly flouting the rules outside of work. What an employee does within their spare time is usually a matter for them, unless it is thought likely to affect the employee from completing their work. A good example of this would be, for example, if a driver for a company was caught speeding outside of their working hours and got convicted, it would be likely to amount to a fair reason to dismiss or discipline them where driving forms part of their contractual role.

As part of employee-employer relations, we always advise employers to discuss any expectation of behaviours with their employees to ensure they are aware of the expectations and consequences of failing to meet those expectations of behaviour.

In these current extraordinary times, any non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations and social distancing outside the workplace could justify disciplinary action in certain situations. To provide an example of this, an employee who openly attends a mass gathering and posts about it on their social media, which displays the name of their company, and continues to attend the office as normal can cause a number of issues. Their actions have the potential to not only endanger the health and safety of colleagues who share a workspace but to damage the employer’s reputation as well. Therefore, in this type of situation, the employer would be justified in taking disciplinary action against that individual.

Disciplinary Action for Lockdown Rule-breakers

In serious cases, some sort of formal disciplinary action may be needed from the employer. Formal disciplinary sanctions could be actioned where an employer has a reasonable belief of misconduct following a fair investigation. Proving they have broken the rules in these scenarios will never be easy. In these kinds of situations, as a business, you have to act fairly and investigate thoroughly to warrant a misconduct action. As businesses, we have to try and adopt a consistent approach with these types of issues and consider all information gathered prior to making a decision on whether the matter needs progressing.

We will always recommend that we communicate to all staff the expectations on them both in and outside the workplace and the potential consequences of their actions should they not follow lockdown rules.