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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 75142
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Suspension, London, I have been suspended pending an

Customer Question

Suspension
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: I have been suspended pending an investigation
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: There is a lot that I would need to discuss
Submitted: 20 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Is there anyone there?
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Dear sir/madamI am not sure if you are able to advise me on the issue in question which is suspension from work.However even though I do have union representation (GMB) I feel that the length I have currently been suspended for,which was from the 20th May is now going on longer than I expected but also I need to know if there is an actual maximum time they can keep me suspended for.Now my situation is a very complicated matter which I certainly cannot go into details about in an email as I would be writing for days however I also do not know if you offer free advice or if I would have to pay for your services.I do work in a secondary school in east London and am currently in my 14th year of employment with the same school.Regarding the points I mentioned earlier in this email if there’s any advice you can give I would be very grateful.Many thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

Has the employer provided you with updates during the time of suspension? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Okay so I was suspended on the 20th May for 4 apparent accusations made against me....I do have a union rep involved with my suspension....I haven’t had any updates or correspondence with my employer since I was suspended other than them informing me of the investigation officer and also a contact for O/H that I requested.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

Being placed on suspension is not an automatic indication of guilt and does not amount to formal disciplinary action. Whilst it can be the start of a disciplinary process, it is certainly not a given that it will end up that way.

Suspension is primarily used as a precautionary measure in more serious cases, whilst the employer investigates any allegations against an employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct; breakdown of working 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, without unreasonable delay. However, there is no maximum time for which an employee can be suspended and I have seen suspensions last from days to a year or so. The employer is required to ensure that they do not just keep you suspended for no reason and that there are still valid grounds to do so, such as the investigation still being conducted and the requirements for you to be out of the business applying.

On suspension, the employer could potentially provide the bare minimum of details. They could simply provide a basic reason for it, without going into any further detail, like the specific allegations or provide any evidence. As this stage, the employee is not formally expected to defend themselves and any investigation will simply ask them to provide details from recollection without the need to officially prepare any sort of defence.

If the investigation provides enough evidence to justify disciplinary action, the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations and provided with the evidence to be used against them. That will give them the opportunity to prepare a defence for the forthcoming disciplinary hearing. They also have a right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.

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, without further action.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Okay so I am aware of the 4 accusations made against me this was told to me when I was suspended on the 20th May....I’m just surprised it has taken this long....I am a little concerned that the accusations that have been brought against me were done so in an next handed way what I mean by this is that my manager has used the CCTV at the school to start the ball rolling and to encourage others to make the allegations....this may seem a little far fetched however after working with my current manager for the last five years I have seen on many occasions his misuse of the CCTV almost on a daily basis...our policy states in bold black letters CCTV is not to be used to monitor staff....I have also submitted a list of complaints to the headteacher regarding my line manager some near 9 weeks ago and he is still working away and most of my complaints are safe guarding issues....these have not been made by myself as a way of getting even,I have been suffering from depression for the last 5 years and to overcome this I decided to bring these issues to my employer to help me deal with my depression and what causes it to affect me
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

Thank you., what further queries do you have about this please?

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
I’m very curious as to why I basically have been suspended for now close to 4 months however my line manager even with the 20 ish complaints I have made against him is still working 9 weeks after I made the complaints,this surely shows an inconsistency...bearing in mind my accusations are mainly to do with time keeping and contracted hours where as I mentioned earlier my line manager includes safe guarding issues including removal of CCTV footage into his personal mobile phone
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
I have had a lot going on in my life over the last five years and this has caused my depression and has also caused it to worsen,as a result my attendance or should I say time keeping has slipped,I will hold my hands up however I feel after 13+ years of service with no past issues that I am being treated unfairly and being kept away from a job that I love
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. As you can appreciate, only the employer knows why the suspension has lasted for this amount of time. You can query this with the employer directly and even raise a grievance if needed. However, unfair suspensions are only challenged legally if you decide to resign and claim constructive dismissal in the Employment Tribunal

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
I don’t want to resign but I’m also in the thought of do I want to go back,being off work being suspended is affecting my health as my anxiety and depression is through the roof at this time,my doctor has voiced her concern for me and as a result I am in the process of starting counselling....
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

That is of course a decision for you to make. It is also worth mentioning that there is a possible alternative solution to this, which could avoid the need for legal action. That is where the employer is approached on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record and with protection against these discussions being brought up in future legal proceedings) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. This can be done by asking for a meeting, or it can be done in writing, via letter or email. Under a settlement agreement the employee gets compensated for leaving the company with no fuss and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, where both parties move on without the need for going to the Employment Tribunal. However, it is an entirely voluntary process and the employer does not have to participate in such negotiations or agree to anything. There is nothing to lose by approaching this subject with the employer and testing the waters on this possibility - the worst outcome is they say no, whereas if successful it can mean being allowed to leave in accordance with any pre-agreed terms, such as with compensation and an agreed reference.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
If I was going to look at going down this option could I ask how I would go about it and if I was going to mention compensation what should I be looking for as a satisfactory settlement
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

It is impossible for me to discuss the level of compensation as for that you need a formal case analysis and we cannot do that here – we are just a basic chat service. As to how you go about it, I discussed that in my reply, such as asking for a meeting or writing to them

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

Hello, following my main response above, I just wanted to check that everything was clear. If you have any further queries about this issue, you can reply to me at any time on this portal and I will be happy to help. Thank you.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Everything you have said is very clear however for you to understand everything that has gone on and is currently going on would take a very long time to get an understood response...I really don’t know what to do with this situation I love my job and in some way I want to return however I also feel like I have been treated very harshly especially due to my mental health and how things have been in my life for the last 5 years...I’m also worried about losing my job before Christmas as the last thing I need with everything that is currently going on is issues with money or paying my rent etc
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 days ago.

Thank you. Unfortunately, there are limitations to our service. We are just a basic chat portal and can only discuss so much on here. We are primarily a place to give you very basic information on your rights and options, so like the first step where someone unsure of their rights gets some initial guidance. If you need more detailed assistance, you may have to look at engaging a solicitor directly to help you, or contacting organisations like ACAS and Citizens Advice