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Precautionary suspension: Make sure follow the correct procedure when it comes to your notice of suspension

by , 27 February 2014
You must follow a legal procedure when you suspend your employee. Overlooking this means you're opening the door for legal disputes. Don't take that risk. Follow the correct procedure when issuing your notice of suspension for precautionary suspension.

There are two types of suspension you can follow:

  1. Preventative or precautionary suspension; and
  2. Punitive suspension.

For the purposes of this article, we'll deal with precautionary suspension and the correct procedure for issuing a notice of suspension.

When would you use precautionary suspension?

You would use this type of suspension if you believe an employee who has committed misconduct may interfere with your investigation or tamper with evidence.

You must issue your employee with a notice of suspension in writing. This means you've given him an opportunity to be heard.

When it comes to precautionary suspension, your notice of suspension will only be legal if you followed a fair procedure

That means:

  • Your first letter informed your employee that you proposed to suspend him;
  • You told him your reasons for wanting to suspend him (fair reason);
  • You invited him to make representations before you decided to suspend him;
  • You considered his representations; and
  • You informed him of your final decision with adequate reasons for it.

If you're not certain of what a notice of suspension looks like, here's a sample below.

Sample letter: Notice of suspension

Dear Mr de Vious


I have decided to suspend you as a precautionary measure pending a further investigation and possible disciplinary steps into your alleged involvement in them is appropriation of stock from the warehouse.

I have taken this decision after considering your representations and because given the nature of your job and responsibilities I am concerned that there could be ongoing harm to the company.

While on suspension you will continue to receive your normal salary and benefits. You are not to enter the premises unless permitted to do so by myself. You must, however, be available at all times in case you are required to assist the employer with any query related to your work.

Yours faithfully
Line manager

It's crucial that you follow the correct procedure when dealing with precautionary suspension

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says you must follow this procedure even if your company policy or the employment contract doesn't require you to.

'You must follow a fair procedure before taking any decision which affects your employee, such as suspension,' cautions the Loose Leaf Service.

Ensuring that your notice of suspension for precautionary suspension is legally compliant will help ensure you avoid labour disputes.

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