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What to do if you have been suspended

In a nutshell, suspension is a means of removing someone temporarily from the workplace, so that an employer can investigate a potential disciplinary offence.

The investigation will be easier for the employer to conduct as the chance of the employee tampering or destroying evidence will be minimised, and they will also not able to influence any employees or customers with regard to the investigation. If the offence is so serious that it could potentially be gross misconduct, then suspension highlights the gravitas of the situation, and that the employee would not be allowed to work until their name and actions have been cleared through an investigation. If there is a dispute between two employees, then usually the accused harrasser is suspended  and sometimes both parties can be suspended.

So what does it really mean if you have been suspended, and what actions should you take? 

If you have been suspended, you are skating on thin ice and could potentially lose your job. You need to be clear about the following:

Understand what the issue/allegation is, directly from HR or your manager. Find out;

  1. what have they suspended you for?
  2. what are the actual allegations?
  3. How long will the investigation take?
  4. How will they conduct the investigation?
  5. What access to information will you have?
  6. Can you contact your colleagues/customers during this time?
  7. What will be communicated about your absence from work?

What you need to do is;

1. Write a chronological statement of events

2. Compile your information/evidence

3. Write a statement that supports your actions

4. Prepare your argument and defence

5. Think of some witnesses to support your statement

6. Update your CV and start thinking about looking for a new job. (If you are innocent of the charges, then you may not want to work there after the investigation and if you have committed an offence of gross misconduct, then you need to plan for the future.)

The key thing is to prepare yourself and your version of events and present your best side at the meeting that you have with your employer. If you are disciplined for gross misconduct and do lose your job, there is always an appeals process built in, which you can utilise.

All the best!



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