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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47623
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I started a new job and I'm still in my probationary period

Customer Question

I started a new job and I’m still in my probationary period and they are looking to extend my probationary period.
My problem is that the reasons they are giving for extending my probationary period are not valid and in some cases are blatantly made up. Every time I try and defend myself they just ignore what I've said and carry on. Even in my official disciplinary meeting they have missed out several key points I raised from the minutes and when I requested a meeting to address this I was told (by the MD) that he didn't want to waste any more time on this. Every time I ask to sit down and ask to talk to them about what they feel I need to improve on they say they will but they never do. I even had a meeting with the chairman and he advised me that I can't ask for help anymore as the MD doesn't have the time. I feel slightly bullied and completely helpless as half of what they say is completely untrue and they other part they won't help me improve.
My question is given this company has no HR department and I am dealing with the MD already what are my options? If I leave in my probationary period it will look bad on my CV, yet if I stay I'm fighting a losing battle?
Do I have any legal rights or do I just have to accept that for what ever reason they want me out?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Does your contract allow for the employer to extend your probationary period?

JACUSTOMER-mq85wp3k- :

Hi Ben,My contract doesn't specify if they can or they can't extend my probationary period

Ben Jones :

Thanks, ***** ***** the contract state that your probationary period is for a fixed time only, for example the initial 3 months of your employment?

JACUSTOMER-mq85wp3k- :

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

JACUSTOMER-mq85wp3k- :

My contract says 6 months but they are under the impression my probationary period is only 3 months

Ben Jones :

Hi, thanks for getting back to me. Your legal rights in terms of potentially removing you from the company will be rather limited because in the first 2 years of your employment you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. Unfortunately that means the employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason within that period without providing a formal justification or needing a fair reason. It could be on performance issues, misconduct, what you have said, what you have done or simply if ‘your face does not fit’. They only have to ensure they are not discriminating against you, such as because of you race, religion, age, gender, etc but it does not appear that this is an issue here.

So if the employer is intent on terminating your employment you cannot avoid that, all you would be due is your contractual notice period and any accrued holidays. Whether you want to wait until that happens or resign beforehand is up to you, I cannot advise which way to go down as it is a personal choice really.

As to extending your probationary period, usually that can only happen if the contract allows for it. You have a 6 month probationary period in place so if they want to keep you on probation beyond that period they must really have the contractual right to do so. Sadly it does not give you many new rights if no such clause exis6ts and they try to extend it – they can still dismiss you regardless and the only thing you can claim in the circumstances would be if you are missing out on certain benefits by being held on probation for longer than the contract, for example any increase in pay, or other benefits which employees who have passed their probation may get.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

JACUSTOMER-mq85wp3k- :

What about unlawful dismissal?

Ben Jones :

there is no such thing as unlawful dismissal, you have two types of dismissal - unfair dismissal, which you are not protected against and wrongful dismissal, which only happens if the employer dismisses you in breach of contract. So for example if they do not pay you the contractual notice period you are due that would be wrongful dismissal and you are protected against that but if they pay you the notice you are due, then unfortunately you cannot challenge the fairness or reasons for the dismissal because you do not meet the minimum criteria to claim.

Hope this answers your follow up query?

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