Guideline

Precautionary suspension

 

  • Suspension should be considered where there is an allegation or suspicion of gross misconduct that could potentially result in the dismissal of the employee.
  • The reason for suspension is usually either because there is a possibility that the employee may interfere with the investigation of the allegations, by tampering with evidence or by attempting to influence witnesses, or because there is a possibility of the employer suffering further harm (for example in the case of an allegation of gross negligence, theft, fraud, etc.).
  • The reason for the proposed suspension should be stated clearly.
  • In terms of the case law from the Labour Court, the employee must be given an opportunity to make representations as to why he/she should not be suspended before a final decision is made. This does not involve the employee’s response or defence on the allegations against him/her; the representations should ONLY be in respect of the reasons given for the intended suspension.
  • Precautionary suspension MUST be on full pay, and the period of suspension should be kept as short as reasonably possible.
  • Once formal allegations (charges) have been levelled against the employee, the employee must be allowed reasonable access to the workplace and fellow employees in order to prepare a response (access to a computer may be required; this can be done under the employer’s supervision) and to consult with his/her representative and potential witnesses.
  • The employee and his/her representative should not be allowed to consult with the employer’s witnesses.
  • Company property to be returned will normally include company laptop, company records and documentation, all keys and access cards and company credit cards. Optional property to be returned may include a cell phone and company vehicle.
  • Arrangement should be made to keep in touch with the employee. Since the employee is still being paid, the employer is entitled to require the employee to attend at company premises at any stage (during working hours).
  • The employee should be requested to sign the employer’s copy of the letter, purely as an acknowledgement of receipt. If he/she refuses, a witness should be requested to sign as confirmation that the letter was handed to the employee.

Precautionary suspension

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