Managers must occasionally deal with employee misconduct. Infractions can be minor or may involve serious and even illegal acts. Suspension and termination are disciplinary options employers can use. Suspension is a temporary separation from work, while termination or discharge means permanent dismissal.

Employer Policies: Suspension and Termination

Employers frequently suspend an employee rather than firing him for a couple of reasons. First, some misconduct is minor, such as taking a few office supplies or not performing a task. Typically, such suspensions are preceded by a written or oral reprimand. Second, a worker may be suspended pending investigation of serious misconduct. In either case, a suspension does not necessarily mean the employee will be fired. Termination is usually held as a last resort and used if the unacceptable behavior isn’t corrected or if an investigation shows misconduct is serious enough to warrant dismissal.

Causes for Disciplinary Action says that company policies regarding suspension and termination should be clearly spelled out in employment agreements and in a written format such as an employee handbook. Typically, employers consider termination when an employee knowingly violates a law by engaging in violent behavior, sexual harassment or other criminal activity. Breach of an employment agreement and repeated violations of company policy are also grounds for suspension or termination. Intentional disclosure of confidential information or damage to the employer or its assets would be reasons for suspension and perhaps termination, as would refusal or failure to perform assigned work.