Letter suspending an employee pending investigation about their alleged gross misconduct

What is a letter suspending an employee pending investigation about their alleged gross misconduct and when should you use it?


Fair employee interaction remains absolutely paramount to the legal robustness of your disciplinary process.

This applies equally to allegation of serious or gross misconduct.

With either serious or gross misconduct it’s likely that you’ll need to internally investigate the circumstances.

However, the law does not allow you to suspend an employee for serious misconduct while the investigation is conducted.

Therefore, this letter should be used for gross misconduct only, where you have invoked your disciplinary policy and its process and decided to suspend an employee while you investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct.

It confirms that following earlier steps taken in your process, and according to your disciplinary policy, you have decided to suspend the employee.

It assumes that you will have met with the employee to inform them of their suspension prior to giving this letter (this is recommended good practice).

It should be read in conjunction with our step by step guide to handling employee misconduct and our guide to suspending employees.

Our step by step guide to handling disciplinary issues will highlight what you should have done by now, and take you through the appropriate next steps.

We recommend that you read this guide before continuing and that you follow the steps closely.

In cases such as this (and only if you’ve exhausted all other options such as placing the employee in a different department, for example), you can consider suspending the employee so that you can investigate properly.

It’s important that suspension is not used routinely without proper consideration as to whether it is necessary in the circumstances of the case.

Suspending an employee without good reason can give rise to claims against you by that employee for breach of their employment contract (even if you have a contractual right to suspend them) or potentially, for discrimination.

Legal guidelines also specify that suspension should be for as short a period as reasonably possible. You should keep the matter under close review if, for example, the alleged misconduct is also a criminal matter and the police are involved.


What else do you need to do?


Check the terms of the employment contract to ensure that you have the right to suspend an employee on full pay.

Your employment contract with the employee and your disciplinary policy within your employee handbook should make very clear what behaviour or activity constitutes misconduct and therefore justifies you taking the steps to suspend the employee while you investigate the allegations levelled at your employee.

Make sure that whenever you’re faced with allegations of misconduct, you follow the process set out in your disciplinary policy.

Be clear about the allegations that have been raised against the employee.

Be as clear as possible so that the employee cannot claim any misunderstanding or ambiguity in what has been communicated to them.

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