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Ben Jones, Solicitor
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Suspension without pay Hi Can a company suspend me without

Resolved Question:

Suspension without pay

Hi

Can a company suspend me without pay if my contract does not state that they can do this? Can they suspend me without pay if a policy on the company Intranet states that it is a possibility?

The links below state that it is not legal unless it is stated in your contract but make no mention of external documents that can be changed at a whim:
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/ResolvingWorkplaceDisputes/Disciplinaryprocedures/DG_10028111
http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2008/02/04/44206/suspensions.html

Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I work for an FSA regulated company. I reported a breach of FSA regulations and was locked out of the office on that day and my access to all company systems and the company Intranet was disabled. The company then made up bogus allegations against me that I proved to be untrue in a disciplinary meeting. I was initially suspended on full pay.

They then asked me to sign a compromise agreement with a gag clause to prevent me from speaking to the FSA or any regulators which could put me personally in a position where I have criminal liability if I do not report what I believe was money laundering.

I have now been suspended for almost 4 months and stated to them that I will not sign the compromise agreement. They then decided that they will stop paying me. My contract makes no mention of suspension without pay but they have said that their disciplinary and grievance procedure document, which is not part of my actual contract, states that it is a possibility and that it is therefore legal.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. An employer cannot suspend an employee without pay unless there is a specific contractual provision allowing them to do so. Getting paid is one of the most important aspects of an employment relationship so there has to be a very clear wording to allow pay to be withheld before it is applied. So the first point of reference would be the employee's contract.

If there is nothing in the contract to allow this, it is unlikely that other documents or policies will allow such a fundamental action to b taken. Whilst a workplace policy may have a provision allowing for suspension without pay, it may only realistically (and legally) be applied if it has contractual effect. That means that something needs to say that it forms part of your contract of employment. It could be that your contract says certain policies form part of your contract and have contractually binding effect, or that the policy states that, but in any case it has to be clear that it is part of your contract.

If there isn't anything that shows the clause allowing for suspension without pay to be contractual, suspending an employee and not paying them is likely to be an act in breach of contract and could also amount to unlawful deduction of wages, both of which can be pursued further if necessary.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi

This is the wording from my contract:

''General Terms and Conditions

We have a group disciplinary policy and a copy of this and other HR policies and procedures are available on the Company INTRANET site. If you have a grievance relating to your employment you should report it to me(Head of HR). I will consider any grievance and if that decision is not acceptable then the matter may be referred in writing to the Chief Operating Officer or an alternative member of the senior management team, whose decision shall be final and binding.'

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
I'm offline tonight but I can get to this tomorrow if thats OK?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi ?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello again, the wording you have supplied has nothing to do with the right of the employer to suspend you without pay. Also it does not state that the policy forms part of your contract of employment. As such, the employer would find it very difficult to persuade anyone that they have the contractual right to suspend you without pay.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The grievance policy it refers to contains this wording:

''In cases of behaviour or conduct regarded as highly inappropriate, it may be necessary to suspend the employee (usually on full-pay but not always) and ask them to remain at home until they are called to the office in order to attend an investigatory or disciplinary interview.''

The way I understand this, even if this wording was applicable, suspension without pay is can be applied until the disciplinary meeting and it makes no mention of anything after that.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
This still does not really give the employer the right to suspend without pay. It is a very imprecise wording and any ambiguity in it will be construed against the employer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What wording is necessary for another document to be incorporated into my contract?

Can you give me an example?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
It would be pretty obvious wording, such as 'This handbook forms part of your contract of employment'. Or the contract could say, that it 'incorporates the handbook on disciplinary matters'
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 38951
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
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Ben Jones
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