Acas has published new advice on how to consider and handle employee suspensions.
Suspension is when an employer tells an employee to temporarily stop carrying out work. A suspension is usually imposed by an employer while carrying out a disciplinary or grievance investigation if there is a serious issue or situation to investigate.
An employer should consider each situation before deciding whether to suspend someone and suspension should not be an automatic response to a situation. It is usually best to only use suspension where there are no alternatives and an employer should ensure it has valid reasons to justify why a suspension is necessary.
Factors that should be considered when deciding whether suspension is needed include:
- the risks associated with not suspending an employee – this might be a risk to others at work, the business or the investigation;
- how serious those risks are;
- the wellbeing of the person under investigation, and how their mental health might be affected if they’re suspended; and
- any alternatives to suspension.
Alternative options to suspension can include temporarily:
- changing shifts;
- changing duties or functions;
- working in a different part of the organisation;
- working from home;
- working from a different office or site; or
- working with different customers or away from customers – for example if the investigation relates to a serious complaint from a customer.
Employers should keep the reason for any temporary changes, made as an alternative to suspension, confidential wherever possible and discuss with the employee what they will tell others at work about the temporary changes.
Employers should keep any period of suspension under regular review and should lift any suspension as soon as possible and as soon as suspension is no longer reasonably necessary.
Posted on September 22, 2022