Disciplinary process: ACAS advice on suspending employees

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Disciplinary process: ACAS advice on suspending employees

Published 14 October 2022

THE FACTS

In September, ACAS published advice on suspending staff. This advice has no legal status and does not say anything new from a legal perspective, but it is likely to be referred to by employees (and their representatives) if they are suspended.  It remains the case that an employer must have reasonable and proper cause to suspend. Suspension should not be imposed as a knee jerk reaction.

The ACAS advice refers throughout to how employers can support employees' mental health and wellbeing in the suspension scenario.  It also makes clear that there are many alternatives to suspension that employers should consider.  These alternatives include temporarily moving someone to work in a different part of the organisation, allowing them to work from home or from a different office or site, or stopping them from doing part of their job - for example, working with different customers or away from customers if investigating a serious complaint from a customer.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS?

Employers would be wise to keep a note of which of the alternatives, whether in the ACAS guidance or otherwise, they have considered before suspending and why suspension is the right course of action.   Suspensions should be kept under review, and employees should be regularly updated about the timing of any investigations, disciplinary and grievance processes.  Employers should also consider what else they can do to safeguard the employee’s mental health.  Referring to an EAP line alone is not likely to be sufficient.

Deciding whether to suspend someone: Suspension during an investigation at work - ACAS

ACAS publishes new advice on staff suspensions at work | ACAS

Authors

Ceri Fuller

Ceri Fuller

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6583

Zoë Wigan

Zoë Wigan

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6564

Hilary Larter

Hilary Larter

Leeds

+44 (0)113 251 4710

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