Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor
When to Use
An employer may wish to implement a suspension policy to complement their existing discipline policies, such as a progressive discipline policy.
Employers may decide to suspend an employee with pay pending an internal investigation. Employers should consider whether the employee's continued presence in the workplace would:
- Threaten employee safety;
- Increase the likelihood of workplace violence;
- Encourage employee retaliation;
- Adversely affect employee morale; or
- Result in decreased productivity.
In certain situations, e.g., in a case concerning workplace sexual harassment, a suspension with pay pending the investigation may be advisable to protect employee productivity and workplace harmony. Suspensions are common pending an investigation regarding whether wrongdoing may or may not have occurred to preserve the safety of the employee involved and the integrity of a possible criminal investigation, such as after a police-involved shooting. If a suspension is the result of a safety or security violation, an employer may determine whether to implement a suspension with or without pay depending on the nature of the infraction and the business needs of the situation.
An employer should consult all relevant federal, state and local laws and any applicable employment contracts before instituting a suspension without pay. An employer should be particularly vigilant when seeking to suspend an exempt employee for less serious behaviors (e.g., for performance issues and minor instances of absenteeism).