Introduction to this document
In cases of gross or very serious misconduct, you should give careful consideration to suspending the employee for a brief period pending your disciplinary investigation. Use our suspension letter for this purpose.
Suspension from duty
If there’s an allegation of very serious or gross misconduct, you will normally need the employee off your premises either so that you can carry out a full and fair investigation, for example by seeking evidence from witnesses, or so that you avoid the risk of being seen to condone the actions of the employee which, if proved, would amount to gross misconduct. This is because an offence of gross misconduct is supposed to result in the relationship between you and your employee having irretrievably broken down. Use our Suspension Letter to suspend the employee from duty but first ensure you have proper grounds to suspend, which is normally usually decided after a preliminary investigation into the allegations has taken place. Never suspend as a knee-jerk reaction so be clear why suspension is being implemented. Our letter indicates that suspension is a neutral act, does not indicate guilt and is not a disciplinary action or sanction. To maintain the independence of the investigation, it’s important to warn the employee not to contact fellow employees or to try and return to your premises (of course, the employee may still need to attend your premises for you to interview them during the course of the investigation). We’ve also set out some other useful conditions in our letter to apply during the period of suspension. Obviously, if a decision is taken to proceed to a disciplinary hearing, the employee will need to be able to contact a fellow employee or trade union representative in order to exercise his or her statutory right to be accompanied. The employee may also need to contact a trade union representative to obtain legal advice.
To pay or not to pay?
Normally the period of suspension should be on full pay - so keep it to an absolute minimum. In addition, natural justice requires you to deal with disciplinary issues expeditiously so the suspension should be for as brief a period as possible and should be kept under regular review - our letter includes an estimated timetable for the investigation. Since suspension is normally a precautionary measure, to impose a suspension without pay will be a breach of the employee’s contract of employment, particularly if the allegations against them later turn out to be unproven.
05 Jul 2013