The Employment Relations Authority has upheld a claim for unjustified suspension and unjustified dismissal by an employee against her employer.  The employee applied for leave and this was granted by the employer, but upon her return from leave she was told she was suspended.

When the employee asked why she was suspended, she was told that she had offered her resignation and her resignation had been accepted.

The ERA concluded that there was no explanation for the suspension and that there was no resignation.  It found that both the suspension and dismissal were made without any justification and awarded the employee $12,000 compensation for humiliation plus $4,000 for lost wages and $2,250 for legal costs.

Before an employer suspends an employee, it must tell the employee why it is considering suspension and give the employee an opportunity to comment on the suspension.  In addition the suspension must be one that a reasonable employer could impose, while it investigates misconduct allegations.  In this case there was no proper procedure followed for the suspension nor any factual justification for the suspension.

Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer