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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My question is regarding the suspension of a full time

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My question is regarding the suspension of a full time employee. I am the owner of the business - a pub and restaurant. On Sunday our Head Chef David was dismissed with immediate effect on the grounds of gross misconduct.
His partner Laura also works for the business in the kitchen. Both of them live on the premises. Davids accommodation is part of his contractual remuniration. Laura's accommodation is not part of her contractual remuniration ut we have accepted her living in residence in David during the entire course of her employment with us. Davis has confirmed he will be vacating the premises by Sunday 21st August which we are happy with.
At the same time as dismissing David we suspended Laura on the grounds that her continued presence may potentially cause damage to the business and other employees, as we suspect she would have spread a lot of negativity about us and the business around the kitchen and other members of our team. Email sent to Laura is below to confirm the reason for her suspension.
The disciplinary meeting for Laura is now scheduled for this Thursday when she has chosen to have her union rep in attendance.
The essence of my question is as follows:
We have suspended Laura on the basis of the below statement in ACAS guidelines. However I'd like to know whether the below can only apply to an employee that is already suspected of wrong doing, or whether it is ok to apply it to an employee we suspect may do wrong or cause damage to the business, bearing in mind the personal relationship between David and Laura in this situation. They have both made it clear they feel the decision to dismiss David is unfair and therefore we would anticipate laura potentially causing damage by saying things that cause us more problems to other members of staff.
'Suspension may be appropriate when an employer is concerned that the employee could influence the investigation process or where the employee's continued presence in the workplace may produce further damage or conflict.'
Good morning Laura
In terms of the conversation yesterday, the situation is as follows:
1. Your partner David Chapman was dismissed from duty with immediate effect.
On this basis there were reasonable grounds for a short term suspension on the basis that there is a potential risk to the business and/or other employees.
Please find below an exert from your employment contract relating to the Grievance Procedure as requested.
Grievance Procedure
The Company may suspend an employee on full basic pay whilst investigating an incident. Suspension is not a disciplinary penalty and carries no implication of guilt. Where after a disciplinary hearing, the employee has been found guilty of Gross Misconduct the employee may be summarily dismissed or in extenuating circumstances we may apply another sanction such as disciplinary transfer, disciplinary suspension without pay or demotion.
To be clear, a suspension is not a penalty against you and carries no implication of guilt whatsoever.
As for our followup meeting, I referred to this as a disciplinary hearing as this is in line with the procedure known as suspension which carries no penalty against you.
The suspension was issued verbally on Sunday at approximately 16:45 for a period of 48 hours.
Therefore, I would like to invite you to a meeting, see details below:
Date: 16/08/16
Time: 16:45
Venue: The Falcon at Hatton
The meeting will be held by ****** with ****** in attendance, you may also nominate a member of staff or a union member as a witness should you want. David will not be permitted to attend.
Please confirm your attendance by email.
I hope this clarifies the position in full.
Kind regards

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. How long has she worked there for?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has worked for us since September 2015
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you confirm you are writing a response to my question??

Hi there, to be honest you do not have too much to worry about. A suspension is traditionally seen as a last resort action and should not be applied lightly, but at the same time there are circumstances when it will have to be implemented by the employer. Whilst it is usual for suspension to be applied only to employees who are potentially guilty of some misconduct, there are other types of suspension such as medical suspension. So it is possible to potentially suspend someone even if they are not guilty of misconduct or under investigation, although there should be solid justification for doing so.

The good news here is that a wrongful or unfair suspension would only give an employee the chance to resign and claim constructive dismissal, together with a potential uplift on the award for failure to follow the ACAS code. However, this can only be done if the employee has at least 2 years service with the employer. This person does not so even if you did suspend them without due cause or on unfair grounds, there is very little they can do to challenge this. They could complain internally, but taking this any further would be impossible so you do not have to fear any sort of legal challenge. It means you can suspend her if you wanted to without having to justify your reasons for doing so, as long as you continue paying her as normal for the time of suspension.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

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