In the past the employer (according to CCMA and Labour Court) was obligated to consult with the employee and allow representation before the employer unilaterally placed the employee under suspension.
An employer is not required to give an employee an opportunity to make representations before a precautionary suspension, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday 19 February 2019. Where a suspension is precautionary and with full pay, there is no obligation that an employee be given a chance to try to exonerate himself/herself of any improprieties.
It is no longer a procedural requirement, for purposes of the Labour Relations Act, for an employer to at least afford an employee to make representations why the employee should not be suspended prior to deciding whether to suspend the employee.
An employee may, however, nonetheless challenge a suspension as an unfair labour practice if a disciplinary code and/or an employment contract and/or collective agreement requires an employer to afford the employee an opportunity to be heard (or make representations) prior to being suspended but denies the employee this opportunity.