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Undertaking an employee disciplinary process is incredibly stressful and even experienced HR professionals often require additional support to ensure legal compliance requirements are met. 

Suspending an employee whilst an investigation for alleged gross misconduct is being conducted can result in an Employment Tribunal claim being brought against you if you neglect to follow proper procedures. 

It is important, therefore, no matter how angry or upset you are at your employee’s alleged behaviour, to understand three key things before suspending them.

In this article, our employment lawyers explain everything you need to know. 


One - Suspension is not a punishment

The function of suspension is not to punish the employee. Instead, the suspension is part of the investigation process. 

For example, it may be appropriate to suspend an employee if there is a potential threat to the business or other team members, or the relationship between the employee and others, including their line manager, has broken down.


Two - The period of suspension should be as short as possible

You cannot suspend an employee for longer than is necessary to conduct the investigation. The employee should receive written notice of the suspension which states:

  • how long the suspension is anticipated to last
  • the employee’s rights and obligations during the suspension period
  • that the employee must not return to work or contact their colleagues or customers
  • a person the employee can communicate with during the suspension period

An Employment Law Solicitor can assist you with drafting a letter notifying an employee that they are being suspended whilst an investigation into alleged gross misconduct is carried out.


Three - Unless the employment contract states otherwise, you must pay a suspended employee

Unless the employment contract provides that an employee will not be paid whilst on suspension, your employee has a right to continue to receive their normal pay and benefits. This is also confirmed in the Acas Code of Practice, which should be followed when conducting a disciplinary procedure. 

If it is not and a claim of unfair dismissal is brought before the Employment Tribunal, the final compensation award may be increased by up to 25%.


Wrapping up

Suspending an employee is a serious step to take and can open you, as an employer, up to the risk of an unfair or constructive dismissal claim. 

To ensure you follow the suspension process correctly, talk to one of our Employment Law Solicitors before taking further action.


Get legal assistance from LawBite

Need legal advice? Our employment lawyers can help you ensure you follow the employee suspension process correctly and make sure you are protecting your business.

Contact us today to book a free 15-minute consultation with our employment solicitors.


Additional useful information

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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