05 May What is Preventive Suspension?
In this post, I’m going to share a few pointers on the tool known as Preventive Suspension.
Employers have the right to issue this order after an incident occurs within the workplace and there is a need to stabilize the situation.
Bench your players
Imagine that there was a big fight between 2 employees. They grabbed scissors and chased each other around the office trying to kill each other. Eventually, the security guards came in and were able to pull them off each other.
You clearly see that the two employees, left to themselves, would probably resume the fight and this will end up in a bloodbath. This is the perfect time to preventively suspend them to prevent them from inflicting more harm against each other. While the preventive suspension is in place, you can prevent your employee from going to work.
In coaching terms, preventive suspension allows you to “bench” your player who has been screwing up on the court from the game so that you can keep everyone safe and make adjustments.
When can you preventively suspended an employee?
The law [note] Section 8 and Section 9 of Rule XXIII, Book V, of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code, as amended by Department Order No. 9, Series of 1997[/note] says that this tool is available to you when his continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.
Highlight that please. You can’t just issue preventive suspensions anytime you want to. You have to be able to prove that the following elements exist:
- Immediate threat – if you let the worker into the workplace, the probability of something bad happening is very high. It is, in fact, immediate and imminent. It is not merely hypothetical or speculative.
- To persons – Physical injury or even death may occur if you let this person back into the workplace. Remember our example of the 2 employees who wanted to kill each other? That falls plainly within this example. That is an immediate threat to a person. You should have something similar before you apply preventive suspension.
- Or property – If persons are not at risk, then company property is. Let’s say that your employee is suspected of stealing cash from the registers. If you let this employee keep on working without a proper investigation, then the chances of the employee continuing to steal from you is very imminent because that employee has the same access and opportunity to keep on doing what they have been doing. That could serve as the basis because there is a threat to the company’s property.
Preventive suspensions are band-aid solutions
The tenor of the preventive suspension is just to bring order or stability into the situation. They are literally band-aid solutions. They are temporary aids to help you stabilize the bleeding situation. They just keep the situation calm and stabilized so you can investigate (administrative investigations).
Are they considered guilty at this point?
A penalty is something you impose against a guilty employee, right? Let’s clear something… preventive suspensions aren’t penalties because you haven’t completed an investigation, hearing and decision. It is premature to say who is at fault.
Remember, you are just trying to create the space in which a proper investigation could take place.
Once you have the results of the investigation and hearings in your hands, that’s the time you may suspend the erring employee. At that stage, the suspension would be considered a penalty.