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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46227
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work university, my contract included term of probation

Resolved Question:

I work for a university, my contract included term of probation that I did not understand and were not explained to me when I started, an appendix to may contract with more explanation was not shown to me (and hence I never signed it), upon my first performance review nothing was mentioned.
I was now told that I have to complete a teaching certificate that takes 2 year in order to complete my probation, however I have less than 2 years left on my contract.
I wonder if the mishandling of information and the lack of appendix signature can help my case to get extension on my contract or exemption from my probation?
Many thanks for your help!
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. When did you start working there please?
Customer:

October 2013

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. How will your rights change if you complete the probation – do you get extra benefits for example?


Customer:

it's to get the contract extended, but not with any extra benefits.

Ben Jones :

A probation period does not really have any legal status, it is just an internal performance monitoring tool so legally not much can be done to remove one if it is in place. The law will only really help you if you were missing out on certain benefits such as an increase in ay or a loner notice period and you were not given these because the employer had not passed your probation as per contract. Whether you are on probation or not will not have any legal implication on the extension of the contract – they can still terminate it if they really wanted to regardless of the status of your probation. The key is how long your service with them is. Until you have at least 2 years’ service you will not be protected against unfair dismissal which means that they can dismiss you at any time and for more or less any reason. But once you get that 2 years under your belt you are protected against it so the employer will have to show there was a fair reason for terminating your employment and follow a fair procedure. A simple reason of ‘not passing the probation’ is not enough and they must show it was due to performance, misconduct, etc and which was serious enough to justify dismissal in the circumstances.


Ben Jones :

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

Customer:

so at the moment i'm being paid by a fellowship, which is a three year duration. the extension for an additional year depends on this probation being completed. but they didn't explain the teaching certificate to me, and I had no idea it would take two years. by the time it was explained, I had already passed one performance review without any mention of the certificate. so I am worried that I won't be extended, but it will be because of this certificate, which I didn't understand, and which wasn't explained to me.

Ben Jones :

if they decide to terminate your employment before the 2 years are up then you won't be able to challenge this unfortunately. If they try to do so afterwards then you will have the protection against unfair dismissal as mentioned and the employer may find it difficult to justify any dismissal was fair if they had not advised you of the requirements to pass and also made attempts to try and allow you to meet the criteria before dismissal

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Customer:

can they not just say the three-year fellowship is up, and they choose not to renew it for whatever reason they want?

Ben Jones :

no they must still be able to show the reason for non-renewal was for one of the accepted fair reasons for dismissal, these could be misconduct, capability, redundancy, some other substantial reason or illegality - regardless of the probationary issue they can still terminate the contract if they can show that it was for one of these reasons and was applied fairly in the circumstances

Ben Jones :

does this clarify things for you?

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46227
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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