It is generally permitted for your employer to suspend you from work with pay for a short period of time whilst they investigate an allegation of misconduct or some other disciplinary issue.
However there are some restrictions on when and how an employer can suspend you and what they should do whilst you are suspended. The key points to note are:
1.You should only be suspended if it is appropriate to do so in the circumstances.
This means that the Employer must have sufficient grounds to justify suspending you. There must be an allegation of serious misconduct, or a risk to the business or a risk to the integrity of the investigation if you remain at work. For example there is an allegation that you have bullied a colleague and the Employer is concerned that employees may feel intimidated if you are there when they are being asked questions about the allegations.
On the other hand, if the allegation is that you failed to follow an internal procedure this would not justify your suspension and it could be a breach of contract by the Employer.
If you are unsure if your suspension is fair then it is recommended that you seek advice about your specific circumstances. You should act quickly to reduce the period of your suspension.
2. You should be paid during your suspension
Unless it states anything differently in your employment contract you are entitled to be paid during a period of suspension.
If you are paid by a combination of salary and commission the position regarding your suspension will be different and you may be able to argue that it is unlawful to suspend you, and that you should receive a payment equivalent to what you would have earned rather than basic salary.
All of your employment rights remain whilst you are suspended, for example you continue to accrue holiday.
3. Suspension should not be used as a punishment
Unless your Contract states that you can be suspended, it should not be used as a form of punishment for disciplinary issues.
4. Your suspension should be for a limited period & should be reviewed regularly
It is not fair or reasonable to keep you suspended from work for an indefinite period of time. Your suspension should be for as little time as possible, and the Employer should not delay in investigating the allegations for which you have been suspended.
Whilst you are suspended the Employer should regularly review the decision to suspend you. This means that they must look at the situation and assess if it is still reasonable for you to be suspended in the circumstances.
What you can do?
If you have been suspended unreasonably or for an unreasonable period of time you should write to your Employer putting them on notice and requesting that you return to work. If they do not respond or refuse to re-instate you then the next step would be to raise a formal grievance.
For information on raising a grievance see the Grievances section of the website.
If after raising a grievance you still do not have a resolution to the issue then your next action will be to pursue a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
If you are not sure what you should do next or what to put in your letter to your employer we have created a new DIY Toolkit for employees who have been suspended and you can download documents and guidance for just £36.00. You can purchase your copy here: Click Here
The documents included are:
- Guidance on your rights when suspended (pdf)
- Letter 1 – Template requesting information following your suspension (word document)
- Guidance notes to accompany letter 1 (pdf)
- Letter 2 – Template letter follow up chasing a response to Letter 1 (word document)
- Guidance notes to accompany letter 2 (pdf)
- Letter 3 – Template letter requesting review of your suspension and return to work date (word document)
- Guidance notes to accompany letter 3 (pdf)
- Grievance Template document to enable you to prepare your own grievance about suspension and treatment whilst suspended (word document)
- Steps to take when suspended (pdf)
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