Employer obligations following suspension?

Suspension is where an employee continues to be employed but does not have to attend work or do any work and usually occurs when:

a serious allegation of misconduct has arisen
there are medical grounds to suspend
there is a workplace risk to an employee who is a new or expectant mother

Suspension should not be used as a disciplinary sanction and should not be automatic when dealing with a potential disciplinary matter as normally an employee will be able to continue doing their normal role while the matter is investigated.

Suspension should be considered if there is a serious allegation of misconduct and:

the working relationships have severely broken down
there is a risk that the employee might tamper with evidence, influence witnesses and/or sway the investigation into the allegation
there is a risk to other employees, property or customers
the employee is the subject of criminal proceedings which may affect whether they can do their job.

In certain circumstances, a health professional may recommend that an individual worker is unfit to work with a particular hazard. If the hazard cannot be immediately removed, the employer should consider:

temporarily adjusting working conditions
offering suitable alternative work (at the same rate of pay and on terms no less favourable than the original role).

If it is not feasible to make such adjustments, the employer may have to suspend until it is safe to return to work.

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