• Preventive suspension must not exceed 30 days

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My boss put me on preventive suspension while an investigation is underway because supplies were found to be missing in the office during the conduct of inventory by management. I am one of the custodians of these supplies and one of the suspects in the alleged pilferage. I just want to know if the suspension is valid because after 6 weeks, the investigation is yet to be concluded. I have been deprived of my job and salary because of this. Please advise me on this matter.

    Dear Jong,
    When a preventive suspension is imposed on an employee pending investigation for violating his/her employer’s policies, rules and regulations, he/she is for the time being not allowed to work. Thus, during these days, he/she receives no pay. Although the law allows preventive suspension, the same must not exceed thirty (30) days.

    The reason for placing an employee under preventive suspension is to ensure that no further damage may be inflicted by the latter to the properties of the employer or to his/her person or that of his/her employees, while the investigation is ongoing. If the investigation is to last for more than the aforesaid period, the employer must reinstate the suspended employee in his/her work. If the employer wants to extend the period of preventive suspension, then he/she must pay the wages and other benefits due the suspended employee.

    In the case of Ma. Socorro Mandapat vs. Add Force Personnel Services, Inc. and Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 180285, July 6, 2010), preventive suspension was discussed by the Supreme Court in this wise:

    “Preventive suspension may be legally imposed against an employee whose alleged violation is the subject of an investigation. The purpose of his suspension is to prevent him from causing harm or injury to the company as well as to his fellow employees.

    The pertinent rules dealing with preventive suspension are found in Sections 8 and 9 of Rule XXIII, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code, as Department Order No. 9, Series of 1997, which read as follows:

    Section 8. Preventive suspension. The employer may place the worker concerned under preventive suspension only if his continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.

    Section 9. Period of suspension. No preventive suspension shall last longer than thirty (30) days. The employer shall thereafter reinstate the worker in his former or in a substantially equivalent position or the employer may extend the period of suspension provided that during the period of extension, he pays the wages and other benefits due the worker. In such case, the worker shall not be bound to reimburse the amount paid to him during the extension if the employer decides, after completion of the hearing, to dismiss the worker.

    When preventive suspension exceeds the maximum period allowed without reinstating the employee either by actual or payroll reinstatement or when preventive suspension is for indefinite period, only then will constructive dismissal set in.”

    As clearly discussed above, your preventive suspension should be up to thirty (30) days only. If the same shall exceed this period, then your employer is bound to reinstate you in your work or pay your salary and other benefits if he/she opts to extend your preventive suspension.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net


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