How to Manage Suspension

Suspension can be tricky to manage and many employers suspend first and think later. Here are the key steps to take when suspending an employee:

• Meet with the employee to explain the suspension. At this meeting allow the employee to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague. Be clear about why you are suspending the employee, what the next steps will be and how long the suspension is likely to last. Make it clear to the employee that the suspension is with pay, and on full terms and conditions of employment (an unpaid suspension would be a breach of contract).

• Write to the employee to confirm the suspension. In this letter, confirm any conditions of the suspension. For example, this could be that the employee does not make contact with any of your customers or clients. Put in place the conditions that will give you the protection that you need.

• During the suspension, carry out any investigations in a timely manner. Make it one of your top priorities to get this matter resolved as quickly as possible. If there is any delay that you cannot avoid, contact the employee to explain why this has happened.

• When your investigations are complete, write to the employee to invite them to a meeting. If your investigations have led you to conclude that disciplinary action is appropriate, make sure your letter tells the employee that they are being invited to a disciplinary meeting, and that they can be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative. If appropriate, tell the employee that one possible outcome of the meeting is that they are dismissed. If your investigations have concluded that there is no disciplinary action to take, still meet with the employee so that the matter is concluded. However, make it clear when inviting the employee to the meeting that this is not a disciplinary meeting and disciplinary action is not being considered.

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