Acas has published guidance to help employers who are considering suspending an employee during a disciplinary investigation.
An employer should only suspend someone if it's appropriate, for example to carry out an investigation, if it's a serious situation and there's no alternative, or a medical suspension or pregnancy suspension to protect an employee's health and safety.
Suspension should be for no longer than is necessary and will be will full pay and benefits to avoid breaching an employee’s contract and giving rise to potential constructive dismissal claim.
The Acas guidance covers deciding whether to suspend someone, the suspension process, supporting an employee's mental health, and pay and holiday rules during the suspension.
The guidance recommends that suspension should only be used when there is no reasonable alternative.This is because of the stress caused to employees and their colleagues and the risk that suspending an employee could breach their employment contract.
Suggested alternatives to suspension include changing shifts, site, or working from home. And a temporary stop on performing part of their role, for example to stop handling stock if the disciplinary involves stock going missing.
Employers should set out the terms of the suspension in writing to avoid any confusion about the employee’s situation. And it should make clear to the worker that suspension does not mean that a conclusion has been reached concerning any allegations of wrongdoing.
For guidance on suspension and disciplinary or grievance investigations, contact our Employment team on 01689 887 887.