In a recent case in the Employment Relations Authority, an employee’s personal grievance at being suspended without pay was upheld.

The employee had been suspended following an argument with a co-worker, and subsequently refusing to follow further instructions. The suspension of the employee was initially on full pay pending the investigation, and that was found to be justified.

A disciplinary meeting was set down to take place in several days’ time. However, the employer informed the employee that they would not be paid for the day on which the meeting was to take place, and that they should either use a day of annual leave or take leave without pay.

The ERA determined that refusing to pay the employee, while the employee was prevented from working, was an unjustifiable disadvantage.

The employee was awarded $1,500 for humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to their feelings, 7.5 times what it would have cost to pay them for the day!

Suspensions must be on pay. Failing to pay will be unlawful in all but some very limited circumstances.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer