Suspended From Work

Important Information about Being Suspended From Work

There are countless reasons why an employee might be suspended from work, so it is beneficial to know facts about the process and your rights in the event it should happen to you.




Employee – employer relationship

Every job, no matter if it is as simple as washing cars or as complex as directing air traffic, has expectations and responsibilities on both sides.  An employer needs to have specifics tasks completed and in a particular manner that the employee can provide, and an employee needs a wage and benefits that the employer is willing to offer.  Most employment is “at will”, which means that either party can discontinue the business working relationship at any point and for any reason that is not illegal or discriminatory. 

Most jobs have detailed descriptions that outline the employee’s responsibilities.  In addition, a company handbook is generally provided to each employee to inform of company policies for being eligible for wages, overtime, vacations, personal time and other benefits.  When a mutual understanding and agreement of these responsibilities has been achieved between employee and employer, a business relationship begins.  The employee provides the services expected of him or her, and the employer recompenses the employee accordingly.

Disciplinary actions

When an employee steps outside of the boundaries set in a workplace or does not fulfill the expectations of their job description, disciplinary action may be taken.  In some work environments, an employee can be fired quickly with no explanation for supposed dereliction of duty.  Other companies may have the policy of submitting warnings prior to dismissal.   Certain offenses could merit a suspension from work. 

Suspension of an employee is the act of prohibiting that employee from attending work for a specified or unspecified period of time.   This disciplinary action is often utilized when an enquiry or investigation into the alleged offense is being conducted, and the employee being on the job could have an effect on the business atmosphere or could potentially tamper with information.  The suspension could be time away from the job with or without pay, often depending on the seriousness of the alleged offense.   There are numerous reasons why an employee might face suspension, generally consisting of some type of misconduct.   Misconduct on the part of the employee can mean theft, excessive absences, is physically or verbally abusive, offensive actions, malfeasance or some other action that is not sanctioned by the employer or the workplace. 

Employee rights

Even during an investigation into an alleged wrongdoing, the suspected employee has rights.  First, the employee has the right to full disclosure of the allegations and any evidence regarding them.  Prior to the suspension, the employee should have the ability to know the offense for which they are being accused and have the right to defend themselves in front of their superiors.  It is wise to have a representative or fellow coworker accompany the employee to such a meeting. 

In the event that an employer suspends an employee without following fair procedures and without good reason, the employee has the right to initiate an unfair labor practice dispute.  Should the employee win the dispute, the employer could be ordered to lift the suspension and restore the employee to his or her position. 

There are frequent reports on news broadcasts that announce a government employee who has been suspended from work with pay pending an investigation into an alleged offense.  Police or government officials suspected of being corrupt, high level employees suspected of embezzlement and other newsworthy situations are continually being investigated.  This type of disciplinary action is not reserved for high level employees, however.  Depending upon company policy, suspension can occur on any level of employment, and it is beneficial for all employees to know their rights should it happen to them.