Can you suspend staff without a warning?

  • Disciplinary
Someone on the phone.
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Employee suspension is a topic that businesses can struggle to understand. In the event of a serious incident, what are your rights? Our guide explains the laws you must follow, along with whether you can dismiss a member of your team due to their poor conduct.

Can you be suspended from work without a warning?

In short, yes. When conducting a disciplinary procedure following an incident of alleged gross misconduct, the first action you can take is to suspend the employee without a warning. It’s to allow a proper investigation into the incident. But the process can be useful in situations where it’s felt the employee’s continued presence in the workplace could impede the investigation. It’s certainly a common question from staff members, “Can you be suspended without a warning?” If someone in your workforce faces this situation, they’ll worry about losing their job. Typically, your process doesn’t mean you suspend the employee from work and they’re then fired. Also, don’t treat the suspension as a disciplinary sanction. In this situation, suspend a staff member from work pending investigations.

Managing employee relationships

Being suspended can obviously be a distressing time for employees. So you shouldn’t put members of your team through a difficult process of suspension from work without reason. Only consider a suspension following careful evaluation of all other options available. For example, you can move the employee to a different area of the workplace. You can place them on restricted duties or have them work under supervision. If, at the end of the investigation, you confirm that an act of gross misconduct is evident, it’s up to you how to respond. Sanctions that are generally imposed will either be a warning or dismissal. However, some procedures do provide for alternative sanctions, such as a suspension punishment (but not suspended from work then fired) suspended from work then fired) without pay for a certain period of time.

How to suspend your employee

If you decide suspension is the best course of action as part of a disciplinary procedure, you should provide an employee suspension notice that outlines the reasons for your decision. It’ll need to make it clear it’s not an assumption of guilt. You should also make sure it stipulates their rights whilst suspended from work, including a point of contact from the company and whether they’re to receive full pay. Generally, the employee should receive full payment during the suspension period unless they’re not able to attend work (or there’s a clear contractual right for their suspension without pay or benefits). To avoid any confusion, it’s advisable to include a clause in contracts that outlines to employees what their rights are in this situation. You should remember that implementing or continuing an unnecessary suspension could constitute a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence in their contract of employment. That could be grounds for a constructive dismissal claim. Disciplinary investigations should be as short as possible and conducted within a reasonable time. If there are to be any delays, inform the employee of this and provide a full explanation.

We’re here to help

Talk to one of our industry experts to resolve your workforce disputes. Call us for immediate assistance on: 0800 028 2420.

Related articles

  • three people sitting around a coffee table smiling


    Employee Morale

    Read our guide where we'll discuss what positive employee morale looks like, its impact on your company, and methods of boosting employee morale.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Employee Conduct
  • a woman and a man high fiving by a window


    Building Relationships at Work

    In this guide, we'll discuss building relationships at work, how to promote relationship building, and the benefits of team cohesion.

    Peninsula Team Peninsula Team
    • Employee Conduct
  • a woman smiling during a conversation with two men


    Employee Retention

    In this guide, we'll discuss staff retention, employee retention strategies, as well as how to lower employee turnover and attract top talent.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Employee Conduct
Back to resource hub

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and health & safety questions

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.

International sites

© 2023 Peninsula Business Services Limited. Registered Office: The Peninsula, Victoria Place, Manchester, M4 4FB. Registered in England and Wales No: 1702759. Peninsula Business Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the sale of non-investment insurance contracts.

ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited company.
The Sunday Times - Top Track 250.
Glassdoor 2018 Best Places To Work.