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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 70436
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My partner has been suspended from his work as a night shift

Customer Question

Hi there. My partner has been suspended from his work as a night shift supervisor after failing an alcohol test. He had not been drinking at work and had only started his shift. He had had a drink Earlier in the evening but did not consume alcohol on site and it had not hindered his performance at work. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. Kind regards
Assistant: Has your partner discussed the suspension with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No nothing had been discussed with him. A colleague hand delivered his suspension letter this afternoon. Apart from that no one had contacted him.
Assistant: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: It is a Parcel delivery company, As far as he is aware there is no union shop steward
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: not at the moment thanks for your help
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.

How long has he worked for this employer and why did they decide to carry out an alcohol test on your partner on the day in question?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
He had worked for the company for just under 10 years. He arrived at work and had begun his shift when he was asked to go to the office.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. The first thing to consider is that being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. Whilst it can lead to disciplinary action, it is primarily there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any serious allegations against the employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct, breakdown of relationship, risk to an employer's property, their clients or other employees, to preserve evidence or ensure it is not tampered with, avoid potential witnesses being pressured or intimidated, etc.

The period of suspension should be as short as possible and kept under regular review. During that period the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify taking disciplinary action, the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations and evidence to be used against them and be given the opportunity to prepare to defend themselves at the forthcoming hearing.

On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should terminate the suspension immediately and allow the employee to return to work as normal.

The employer would have had the right to suspend him based on the suspicion that he may have been under the influence, simply because there were factors which made them genuinely believe that was the case. The main thing now is to deal with the process as and when it unfolds, depending on what the employer decides to do.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your advice. It does help. Is it right for him to have been the only one that was tested? No other employee was asked to submit a test and the staff that carried out the test left the premises after it was completed
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.

I presume he was the only one who had likely visible evidence of potential drinking, such as that they may have smelt it on him? Even if not, the employer can make a random test if needed, a lot of employers have a random testing policy as then people cannot really cheat the system and it ensures that everyone sticks within the rues

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The only visible evidence they had was the test. He started work at 11pm. He had a drink earlier in the evening and I will add he has had issues with his manager recently regarding the work that is being carried out. A few nights earlier he was warned by another employee that they were going to be coming to test him. I am in no way excusing his own actions but he wasn’t drunk when he left home, he has never drank at work or been caught with alcohol on site, he has never been warned in the past or spoken to regarding drinking alcohol and it has never affected his work performance either
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.

And is there a policy about testing in work?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.

Hello, I am not sure if you saw my query above: is there a policy about testing in work?