Should an employee be allowed access to the workplace and colleagues during his or her suspension while a disciplinary investigation is carried out?

Where an employee is placed on suspension while a disciplinary investigation is carried out it is usual for the employer to advise him or her that he or she will not be allowed access to the workplace or colleagues. The employer should be aware of the risk that the employee might try to influence colleagues who may be involved in the investigation as witnesses. In practice, an employer cannot stop an employee contacting colleagues outside of work but it should warn the employee that any attempt to influence colleagues involved in the investigation will be dealt with under the disciplinary process.

If the employee requests access to the workplace during the suspension, for example to retrieve personal property, the employer should assess the request and the reason for it and decide whether or not it is reasonable to allow the employee access. It may be possible to allow the employee access to the workplace outside of working hours to avoid him or her coming into contact with colleagues. The employer should also consider any requests by the employee to be allowed to contact colleagues if this is necessary in connection with preparing his or her response to the disciplinary case.