Does an employer risk a tribunal claim if it suspends an employee pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation?
If an employee's misconduct is the subject of a criminal investigation, can the employer continue internal disciplinary proceedings?
If an employer wishes to suspend an employee during a disciplinary investigation, must it have a contractual power allowing it to do so?
For how long should an employee be suspended while a disciplinary investigation into alleged misconduct is carried out?
Must an employee on suspension while a disciplinary investigation is carried out remain available for work, or can he or she take a holiday during this period?
If an employee is suspended on full pay during a disciplinary investigation, can he or she insist that the employer communicate through his or her representative?
Should an employee be allowed access to the workplace and colleagues during his or her suspension while a disciplinary investigation is carried out?
How can an employee challenge a decision to suspend him or her pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation?
Will an employee’s continuous service be affected by his or her suspension while a disciplinary investigation is carried out?
Will it always be necessary to hold an investigatory meeting with an employee suspected of misconduct?
Who should carry out a disciplinary investigation?
Who should carry out an investigatory meeting with an employee suspected of misconduct?
Yes, where an employee has committed misconduct at work that is also the subject of a police investigation the employer can conduct its own investigation and does not have to await the outcome of the criminal proceedings. However, the employer may need to exercise caution so that it does not impede the police inquiries. Further, the employee may choose not to cooperate so as not to prejudice his or her defence to any criminal charges.
The non-statutory Acas guidance (PDF format, 1009K) that accompanies the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures (PDF format, 1.58MB) (both on the Acas website) states that, where an employee who is charged with a criminal offence refuses, or is unable, to cooperate with the employer's disciplinary investigations and proceedings, the employer may still take action. The guidance recommends that the employer should advise the employee in writing that, unless further information is provided, it will take a disciplinary decision on the basis of the information available, and this could result in dismissal. The guidance also states that, where the police are called into the workplace to investigate a criminal matter, they should not be asked to conduct an investigation on behalf of the employer nor be present at any disciplinary meetings.
The employer should carry out a reasonable investigation as far as it can to establish the facts. If there is insufficient evidence to establish an honest and reasonable belief in the employee's guilt, the employer may decide to wait for the outcome of the criminal proceedings. The employee could be suspended on full pay during this period, which could last for several months.
If an employee is charged with, or convicted of, a work-related criminal offence, should the employer conduct its own investigation before taking disciplinary action?
Do employees have the right to be accompanied at disciplinary investigation meetings?
Where, following an investigation, the employer concludes that no disciplinary action is necessary, what should it do with the information gathered during the investigation?
What should the employer do if new evidence emerges after the conclusion of a disciplinary investigation, before the disciplinary procedure has been completed?
Where an employer suspects that an employee is working under the influence of alcohol, what action can it take?
Can an employee who is a witness to an incident be obliged to provide a witness statement?
Can an employer anonymise witness statements obtained during a grievance or disciplinary procedure?
When an employee who is subject to disciplinary proceedings raises a grievance, must the employer put the disciplinary proceedings on hold?
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