Does an employer risk a tribunal claim if it suspends an employee pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation?
If an employee is suspended without pay, he or she can bring an employment tribunal claim for an unlawful deduction from wages, or a breach of contract claim, unless there is a clear contractual right allowing a period of suspension to be unpaid.
In addition, if an employer imposes an unjustified period of suspension, whether paid or not, it may amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence, entitling the employee to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal. Whether or not the employer is in breach of this implied term will depend on the circumstances of the particular case. Suspension of an employee may put the employer at risk of such a claim if, for example, the suspension is: without reasonable and proper cause; imposed in an unreasonable way; unpaid, in the absence of a contractual right for it to be without pay; or unnecessarily protracted.