If you are the subject of a serious allegation of misconduct at work, your employer may decide to suspend you whilst it undertakes an investigation. This may be because there has been a severe breakdown of working relationships or your employer thinks there is a chance you would compromise the integrity of the investigation in some way.
If you are suspended, you remain employed but do not have to attend work or do any of your usual contractual duties. Although suspension may have a damaging effect on your reputation at work, it should not be associated with an assumption of guilt.
Before your employer takes the decision to suspend you, it must carefully consider all the circumstances and be sure that it is the most appropriate action to take. It must consider options such as working from home or being transferred to another area of the business.
Some employers might argue that suspension is a “neutral act” and does not reflect on your character or your ability to carry out your role. Fortunately, the Courts have not accepted this argument. Your employer must show that there is a “reasonable and proper cause” for suspension.
Before any suspension commences, you are entitled to receive a letter from your employer setting out:
- Reasons for the suspension
- Proposed length of the suspension
- Your rights and obligations during the suspension
- A point of contact and their details
- The fact that the purpose of the suspension is to investigate and is not an assumption of guilt.
Whilst on suspension you should be kept informed as to the reasons for your suspension and the length of your suspension. In most instances you should receive your normal salary.
If your suspension was unfairly imposed or inappropriately handled you may have grounds to:
- seek an injunction to force your employer to end the suspension
- resign and claim “constructive dismissal”