Suspensions and the Police

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Following the case of Crawford v Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, the Court of Appeal made some interesting comments regarding employers who routinely suspend employees when beginning a disciplinary investigation.

It is the Court of Appeal’s view that suspension should not be a knee jerk reaction in the disciplinary process – the employer’s disciplinary procedure should be clear that suspension should only be used in certain circumstances and will not denote any guilt.  Of course suspension should be for the shortest period possible and should be considered on its own individual merits rather than being instantly applied as a matter of routine.

The case also commented on the referral of matters to the police. It warned that being under the cloud of possible criminal proceedings is a very heavy burden for employees to face, the EAT stressed “employers should not subject employees to that burden without the most careful consideration and a genuine and reasonable belief that the case, if established, might justify the epithet “criminal” being applied to the employee’s conduct”.