Suspending employees

Suspending employees

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13 Feb 2018

Many times we’ve been asked whether in the midst of a disciplinary investigation an employee can be suspended, and many employers feel it is their right to do so. Suspension, even with a contractual right to suspend (all myHRdept contracts come with this,) is an aggressive act and should only be used in circumstances when:

  • the offence is particularly serious and the likelihood of guilt strong; or
  • where the presence of the employee might hinder the investigation; and
  • an alternative location for the employee is not available.

By way of an example, an employee seen staging an unprovoked assault on another employee could normally be suspended.

Conversely, an employee who failed to follow a procedure leading to a customer complaint should not be suspended.

The key thing is to clarify why you are suspending an employee. If there is no obvious reason to do so, then normally the advice would be not to.

If suspension appears appropriate (and we always suggest you seek advice from myHRdept before suspending) then it is essential that:

  • the suspension is put into writing (myHRdept will prepare a letter)
  • the employee is assured that suspension does not imply guilt
  • the suspension is for only as long as is necessary to complete the investigation
  • the suspension is, in most cases, on full pay.

In cases where an employee is improperly suspended the employee may resign and claim they have been constructively dismissed, i.e. that the action of suspending them undermined trust to such a degree that they were entitled to regard the employment contract as having been ended by the employer’s actions. The maximum compensation for unfair dismissal in these circumstances would be the lower of a year’s earnings or £80,541 (due to be revised April 2018.)

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