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Terminating employment within a probationary review

Terminating employment within a probationary re...

I have an permanent employee who has made errors during his probationary period. and we have discussed this on a previous occassion. However we have not put in place any training plans or a personal development plans. I have arranged for a meeting to be held with the employee to discuss his future and to terminate his employment. Also prior to this we were thinking about promoting him but have since changed our minds due to the errors. He was told he was in line for promotion.

Where do we stand legally and really as good business practice?

Thanks in advance
Rebecca Jackson


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By sjbeale
24th Jan 2008 15:45

To be fair to the employee you shoul have addressed the problems and tried to support him with proposing extra training and support all in a documented meeting. You then track progress through regular documented meetings until you decide whether he is fit for the job or should be dismissed.

It's whether you have time to extend his probation and try and assist him become effective or a decision to dismiss needs to be taken before he reaches 12 months service.

Sandra Beale FCIPD

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By Anonymous
23rd Jan 2008 11:05

Hi Rebecca

You do not say whether he is on probation within his original period of employment or if this is as a result of an internal transfer and may have been with the company longer than 12 months.

If he has been employed less than 12 months (including his notice period) your need to go through the whole competency review prior to dismissal is not required.

I was surprised that you were considering promoting him without completing his probation and based on what appears to be little evidence of competence.

In light of the quick decision made to promote and what appears to be a quick decision to terminate, I would suggest that perhaps some time is taken to analyse this more closely prior to taking a final decision. Recruitment is expensive in terms of actual money as well and in particuliar time -

The comments below are taylored towards best practice.

Option 1:

If on reflection you decide that you wish to observe this individual for a longer period prior to making a final decision then:
1. Extend the probation for a further period of no longer than 3 months, making sure that this will not take the total including any notice past 12 months.
2. Make sure you discuss this with him, the reasons for it and put it in writing, explaining what he needs to demonstrate (and how it will be monitored) to be successful and what will happen if he is not,ensuring you include a comment on being able to terminate before the end of the extended period of probation should it be clear that he will not have the capability you require.
3. Be sure to meet with him regularily during the extended period with constructive feedback (keep notes of these meetings)and realistic (based on fact) comments which indicate whether he is delivering the level of competence yu will require or not.
4. If at the end or before the extended period of probation is finished, either confirm or terminate by holding a meeting with him and explaining the outcome and providing him with a written letter confirming you decision with the necessary details.

Option 2:
If he is within the first period of employment with your company and his probation and notice period are not gretaer than 12 months, then you should meet with him, explaining why you are not confirming his appointment and explaining what next e.g. do you want him to work his notice - do not assume you can just ask him to leave - what does the contract say?(do you have a gardening leave clause or other clause in the contract that covers termination during probation? You need to follow the contract.)

He has no right of appeal if he is in the first 12 months of employment.

I trust this is helpful.

Linda Klassen-Brown
Business Adrenalin Limited
[email protected]
07796 440062

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23rd Jan 2008 13:03

Our disciplinary policy does not apply during the probation period so we would follow the statutory discipline & dismissal procedure. Initally there is a probation review where the persons shortfalls are discussed and support given. If after that there is no improvment, there is a letter, a meeting and if the outcome was dismissal the right to appeal.

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23rd Jan 2008 11:03

In terms of your legal obligation, assuming you have an employee who is not in a new role (and therefore with more than a year's service) then you need to give them the contractual notice period and any holiday pay outstanding and then say goodbye (after putting it all in writing). As they can't claim for unfair dismissal, you are pretty much done and dusted.

From a best practice point of view, you should have identified your concerns and then taken measures to address them, and gone all the way through the disciplinary process. This is because it costs money to recruit, train and develop people - money that you just throw away when you sack someone, and then it costs more money to hire someone new and impacts on performance from that area until they get up to speed.

It's a shame really because you had a guy you obviously felt was talented and then some mistakes were made - and instead of helping the person correct them, you have let it go on until you feel you need to sack him instead. A waste of resource here I feel...

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By Anonymous
24th Jan 2008 09:58

Hi Rebecca

It sounds like you have the right process in place and I suspect that your original question is really regarding having indicated that you would be promoting him, you are now planning to dismiss him - what if any impliactions are there both legal and best practice.

What has been said below still stands - although I suspect the individual will be very confused. Be sure that to enable him to come to terms with his change in fortunes that you (or whoever deals with this) are very clear with your employee why his termination has come about and perhaps some pointers on how he might avoid it happening again in the future.

Good luck

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