When is it reasonable to suspend an employee?

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An education trust had suspended an employee Mrs Agoreyo following an accusation of excessive force of two young pupils, because of this Mrs Agoreyo tendered her resignation. She subsequently brought a claim of breach of contract to the county court whom held in favour of the employer’s decision.

The ET considered that the headteacher had reasonable and proper cause for suspension and dismissed her claim. On appeal the High Court overturned this decision on the basis it had not been necessary to suspend Ms Agoreyo.

Following the decision from the High Court the education trust appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal who agreed with the original decision that there was no breach of trust and confidence. They considered that the proper test and key indicator when considering the decision to suspend was whether the headteacher had reasonable and proper cause rather than whether it was necessary – the case was dismissed.

But what does this mean for your business?

Within the workplace it can be a difficult decision for employers when considering whether suspension is reasonable and should be used a means of precautionary action.

Taking such an action isn’t a punishment in any respect, as the employee may not be guilty of anything, but it is important to fully consider your decision to eliminate any risk of an unfair dismissal claim.

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