Introduction to this document

Suspension letter

In cases of gross or very serious misconduct, you should give careful consideration to suspending the employee for a brief period during your disciplinary investigation and pending a formal disciplinary hearing. Use our suspension letter for this purpose.

Suspension from duty

If there's an allegation of very serious or gross misconduct, you may decide to suspend the employee from duty whilst you carry out a full and fair investigation. Suspension may be appropriate, for example, where there is a risk of further misconduct or interference in the investigation, such as tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses. Use our Suspension Letter to suspend the employee from duty but first ensure you have reasonable and proper cause to suspend, which is normally usually decided after a preliminary investigation into the allegations has taken place, and this may involve holding an initial interview with the accused employee to obtain their version of events. Never suspend as a knee-jerk reaction so be clear why suspension is being implemented and ensure you have at least some prima facie evidence to support the allegations. Also consider alternatives to suspension before taking the decision to suspend, such as moving the employee to another role or another location (with their agreement). If you do decide to suspend, separately document your reasons. Our letter indicates that suspension does not indicate guilt and is not a disciplinary action or sanction. To maintain the independence of the investigation, it's important to warn the employee not to contact fellow employees or to try and return to your premises (of course, the employee may still need to attend your premises for you to interview them during the course of the investigation). We've also set out some other useful conditions in our letter to apply during the period of suspension. If a decision is taken to proceed to a disciplinary hearing, the employee will need to be able to contact a fellow employee or trade union official in order to exercise his or her statutory right to be accompanied. The employee may also need to contact a trade union official to obtain legal advice.

To pay or not to pay?

Normally the period of suspension should be on full pay - so keep it to an absolute minimum. In addition, natural justice requires you to deal with disciplinary issues expeditiously so the suspension should be for as brief a period as possible and should be kept under regular review - our letter includes an estimated timetable for the investigation. Since suspension is normally a precautionary measure, to impose a suspension without pay will be a breach of the employee’s contract of employment, particularly if the allegations against them later turn out to be unproven.