Is suspending an employee a breach of contract?
In a recent decision (London Borough of Lambeth v Agoreyo) the Court of Appeal has provided some interesting clarification on when an employer can suspend.
A primary school teacher was suspended after she was accused by two teaching assistants of using excessive force against pupils with special educational needs. The teacher claimed the suspension was a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence. She resigned and brought a claim for breach of contract.
Originally, the case was heard in the County Court, where it was found that the school had reasonable and proper cause for suspending the teacher, so there was no breach of contract, but the case was appealed to the High Court which disagreed. The High Court decided that suspension was not necessary and that it was, therefore, a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the County Court and confirmed that there was no breach of trust and confidence because the correct test was whether the Head had “reasonable and proper cause to suspend”.
So, the teacher’s claim failed but this is something for employers to bear in mind when suspending employees. The case emphasises the importance of looking at all the circumstances before suspending, to ensure there is reasonable and proper cause.
Of course, if you would like a chat about your situation we would be happy to talk. Please call us on 01908 226677
This article was written by Catrin Mills from Altor Employment Solicitors