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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71382
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Suspended this morning and need some advice, Hampshire,

Customer Question

suspended this morning and need some advice
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Hampshire
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: Suspended this morning and meeting at 10am tomorrow
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Bear with me
Submitted: 20 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
File attached (LSQP5G6)
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.

What do you specifically want to know about this, please?

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Want advise on what to say and how the outcome looks? I'm except from wearing a mask too law supercedes policy so what can they do about it?
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
The phone business is not entirely true surely they need evidence?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Thank you. How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
3 months
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. 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.

As suspension can still have a damaging effect on the employee’s reputation, its existence and reasons for it should be kept confidential, where possible. If it is necessary to explain the employee's absence, an employer should discuss with the employee how they would like it to be explained to colleagues and/or customers before it is communicated.

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.

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.

However, the main issue in the circumstances is the fact that you have only been continuously employed at you place of work for less than 2 years. That means that your employment rights will, unfortunately, be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not have legal protection against unfair dismissal. This basically means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as the decision is not based on a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. They can proceed with a dismissal even if you had done nothing wrong and also without following any specific fair procedure or proving that any of the allegations are true.

As mentioned, there are some exceptions to this, in which case the 2-year rule does not apply. These include situations where the dismissal was wholly, or partly, due to:

- Discrimination due to a protected characteristic (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)

- Taking, or trying to take, leave for family reasons including pregnancy, maternity/paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave or leave for dependants

- Raising concerns about health and safety or other unlawful acts by the employer and being penalised as a result by being dismissed

However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions, you would not be able to challenge it due to not meeting the minimum service criteria for claiming in the Employment Tribunal. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That would usually happen if you were not paid any contractual notice period due to you, unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct. That is where you were guilty of something very serious which justifies immediate dismissal, without any notice pay.

In any other circumstances, you would be due a minimum notice period, as per your contract and associated pay. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. The employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they can decide to pay you in lieu of notice. That is when you are paid for the equivalent of the notice period but your employment is terminated immediately and you are not expected to work through your notice period.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
its clear they don't need to prove any of these aligations in order to dismiss me for gross misconduct.What about the face mask situation as im exempt but they are saying im refusing to wear ppe as policy and government guidelines? I have health reasons so do I need to explain all this to them?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

You do not need to provide a certificate of exemption for example. They can ask you why you are exempt but without you having to provide proof.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Okay thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. All the best