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Staff Suspension

Published 10 Dec 2019

This time of year is not called the silly season for nothing. The festive season brings all sorts of challenges to management across most industries, and it's probably fair to say that incidents of serious misconduct are more highly represented at this time than normal. It is also fair to say that on occasion employers can be too quick to suspend.

Suspending staff is a punitive measure and it is easily argued it disadvantages an employee in the ability to do their job, or that is how employee advocates will represent it. You need good reason AND fair process when suspending staff, it shouldn't be considered lightly or in the heat of the moment simply because the boss feels let down by their staff.

Staff should only be suspended if you feel there is a real risk to the business or have serious safety concerns should they remain at the workplace, and following your justification of that, there is then process. You need to offer them the opportunity to refute a suspension, you should not request any tools or benefit returned at this stage without good reason - since this could demonstrate a pre-determination of outcome, and suspension should initially be nearly always on full pay.

After the suspension you should follow your normal procedure for misconduct in terms calling meetings with notice, offering support, outlining the seriousness, potential outcomes and all evidence/materials you intend to use or need. The omission of any one of these points may render your process invalid and leave you open for a successful personal grievance.

There is a quick guide on this in the Employers Toolbox - Library section. We strongly suggest becoming familiar with this, or at least remember to refer to it if faced with a challenging situation over the coming period.