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What are your rights if you have been suspended?

If you have been suspended you need to check whether your employer has followed the procedure set out in your employment contract and/or staff handbook. Even if there are no clauses or policies related to this as long as there is a justifiable reason, your employer may suspend you with full pay.

In what sort of situations should you be suspended?

The new ACAS guidelines which can be found here set out the circumstances which would permit an employer to suspend you. It usually takes place when there has been a serious allegation of misconduct; when there are medical grounds to suspend or there is a new workplace risk to an employee who is a new or an expectant mother.

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What you need to know if you have been suspended

Notification of Suspension

You should be:

  1. Given an explanation.
  2. Informed of the duration and it should be for the shortest period of time possible (this will depend on the circumstances).
  3. Given the name of an employee you can contact and your rights and obligations should also be explained to you.

Confidentiality

The suspension and its reason should be kept confidential, where possible. If it is necessary to explain your absence to your customers or colleagues then this should be discussed with your employer.

Grievances

If you are concerned about the way your suspension has been handled then raise the issue informally with HR. If it cannot be resolved then you follow the grievance policy set out in your staff handbook. Usually, you would need to set out your complaint in writing and submit it with supporting evidence.

Possible claims against your employer

  1. During your period of suspension, your employer still owes you a duty of confidence. If you think this may have been breached or your employer has assumed you are guilty then you may possibly have a claim for breach of mutual trust and confidence;
  2. If you have been suspended without reasonable grounds OR your employer takes an excessive amount of time to carry out an investigation (without explanation) making it untenable for you to go back to work, then you may have a case for constructive dismissal. This may also apply if is impossible for you to defend yourself because you have been asked not to speak to other colleagues.
  3. Your employer should review your suspension on a regular basis to determine whether or not it is still necessary, otherwise, this can also amount to a breach of mutual trust and confidence giving grounds for a constructive dismissal claim.
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