You may decide it is necessary to suspend an employee from work whilst a serious disciplinary matter is investigated. Suspension should not be used as a disciplinary sanction, if an employee is suspended, it is not an indication of guilt.

Most disciplinary procedures will not require suspension. An employee will usually be able to continue doing their normal role while the matter is investigated. Suspension should never be an automatic approach when dealing with a potential disciplinary matter.

The right to suspend an employee is normally set out in the contract of employment or employee handbook. Usually, a period of suspension will be on full pay, unless the contract of employment provides otherwise.

Why would you want to suspend an employee?
The reasons why you might suspend an employee could include:

• to highlight to the employee the seriousness of the matter and potential breakdown of trust;
• to immediately stop the employee carrying on the gross misconduct that is being alleged;
• to stop the employee interacting with other employees or clients/customers, which may otherwise cause a detrimental effect of the business;
• to enable you to properly investigate the potential disciplinary matter without any hindrance;

How long should the suspension last?
Any suspension should be for the shortest period of time whilst an investigation takes place, and you should regularly update your employee as to how long the suspension is likely to last.
If you suspend an employee without any reasonable grounds to do so, or you take an inordinate amount of time to carry out an investigation (without explanation), the employee may have a case for constructive dismissal.

To find out more about when to consider suspension and the correct process to follow, please speak to a member of the Solve. Team.

HR Masterclass seminar

Join us on Thursday 24th January 2019 at the Mercure Hotel for a free HR masterclass seminar.

Disciplinary and Grievance Masterclass

Disciplinary and Grievance issues affect all organisations at some point and if not done properly it can leave a Company exposed to an Employment Tribunal claim. The Masterclass will cover how to deal with disciplinary and grievances both informally and formally giving you the confidence to undertake such actions without breaching ACAS guidelines.  There will be lots of hints and tips for you to take away and implement and you will leave with clarity on the procedures and what you need to do to ensure that you have effective policies in place.

When: Thursday  24th January

Time: 8.45am for 9.15am start until 10.15am(teas and coffees provided)

Where:  Mercure Hotel, Almondview, Edinburgh EH54 6QB (plenty of parking)

Please feel free to share with colleagues and fellow business associates who you think might be interested.


To reserve your place please register on eventbrite below.

                                 REGISTER HERE

With Halloween becoming a much bigger thing in the UK, here are five issues to be aware off that could lead to more scary consequences!


  1. Discrimination against non-mainstream religious beliefs

Employers must avoid the temptation to take non-mainstream religious beliefs less seriously than the major religions.

The Equality Act 2010 simply defines religion as “any religion”, and does not state the belief has to be a major religion to be protected.

In the 2011 census, 57,000 people identified themselves as Pagan.

In Holland v Angel Supermarket Ltd and another, a Wiccan employee who claimed she was mocked and later dismissed after switching her shifts to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve won a religion or belief discrimination claim.


  1. Discrimination by fancy dress

Employers commonly use fancy dress as a motivational tool during certain times of the year, for example when running themed sales days.

However, fancy dress has the scope to offend some groups, particularly if employees are given no option but to take part.

For example, a Halloween costume that stereotypes someone with a mental health problem, or from a particular religion or nationality, could lead to a discrimination claim.

Two successful employment tribunal claims demonstrate the problems that can occur when employees are expected to dress up at work.

In X v Y, the tribunal found that a gay employee was harassed at a workplace fancy-dress event that he could not opt out of and lent itself to banter of a sexual nature that could easily offend.

In Brown v Young & Co.’s Brewery, the tribunal found that a manager harassed a black pub worker when he told him that he “looked like a pimp” when he was wearing a promotional St Patrick’s Day hat.


  1. Halloween-related misconduct

Employers may find that an employee commits misconduct during Halloween.

For example, an employee might bring inappropriate items such as fireworks into work, or use Halloween-related imagery in an inappropriate way.

The employee in Biggin Hill Airport v Derwich was dismissed after she placed an image of a witch as a screensaver on the computer of a colleague with whom she had fallen out.


  1. Social media misconduct

These days, what employees post on social media can be as much of a concern for employers as what they do at work.

For instance, Welsh international rugby player Liam Williams apologised in December 2014 after he posted a picture on Twitter of himself at a fancy dress party “blacked up” as the footballer Wilfried Bony.

Employers should have in place a social media policy to make it clear that any inappropriate social use of the internet outside the workplace could result in disciplinary action if it brings the company’s reputation into disrepute.


  1. Absence management

Employers should make it clear to employees that absence because of a hangover, or coming to work but being unable to function, following the Halloween weekend is unacceptable.

Before taking disciplinary action, an employer would need evidence that the employee was off sick as the direct result of a hangover, or came to work and was unable to perform his or her duties.

Some employers reserve the right to carry out random alcohol tests on employees, particularly in safety-critical industries.