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Being fired during a probationary period

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by ralph, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Hi,

    My fiancee was just fired during her probationary period. Her boss, HR manager, and GM all had nothing but praise, but the owner has pushed this, as she has been unhappy with her performance. Yet all the other managers have given her nothing but praise.

    Its a very strange situation - and to be honest i am pretty emotive right now.

    Main question for people that might know or work in HR - not just speculation:
    * During the probationary period - can you be fired without any feedback (or in the this case, where she was given positive feedback from everyone around her bar the owner)? So effectively being told "not meeting expectation as the reason", but everyone has said she was doing a fine job?

    * Who should i potentially speak to about unfair dismissal (lawyers etc) - or is it just not worth the effort/ no case because she was on probationary period.

    Really appreciate anyone that might be in HR or a HR lawyer that might know more on this subject. Needless to say my fiancee was completely blinded sided by this.
  2. Did your fiancee sign any sort of workplace agreement?
    If so, first thing to do is to read that carefully to see what it says about dismissal.
  3. Usually, in a probationary period, you can be terminated without any reaosn. It's usually poor form to not give a reason, but the reason could be anything, general attitude, rocking up late 1 day, etc.

    It will really depend on what paperwork she had in place, but I expect the employer would have been through this before & worded it correctly.

    I don't work in HR, but my wife does, so I hear things.
  4. As has been said - during a probationary period, you don't need warnings or counselling.
  5. NSW Industrial Tribunal Avoiding Unfair Dismissal claims

    I would say the employer at least had a duty if not a requirement to review the employee performance at regular intervals and give opportunity for improvement. If her immediate peers were indicating her performance was Ok and there was no feedback otherwise it seems unfair.

    I stress I am not in HR though and definitely not across the relevant legislation. Try Fair Work Australia
  6. That's the whole reason folk set up probationary period, because if you skip it or once that's over things get much harder to disentangle later.
  7. What MV said accords with my understanding. Probabtionary period means sack at will. But it is piss-poor form-wise. (I'm not HR, but spent the last two years working with HR managers from Fire and SES agencies. Fire Brigade IR is very interesting indeed.)

    If its any consolation, last time I unwillingly lost a job, I turned up for work (7am) only to find the owner had done a bunk. F*cker still owes me six weeks pay!
  8. I've yet to see anything that benefits the worker come out of a workplace agreement. It really just gives incredible power to the employer.

    Thanks a lot Johnny.
  9. Actually, Julia re-wrote the rule book, so the current Fair work act, which allows for 6 month probationary period for businesses of more 15 people is all hers.

    For businesses less than 15 people, the probationary period is 12 months.

    Thanks a lot Julia.
  10. And thank god for that, or my parents 5 person business wouldn't have been able to sack people who lie about basic work knowledge to get started.~ (Guess what. Employees can be the bad guy.)

    er. Mind you this still sounds like douchebaggery on the face of it if the reason is personal and not work related. But there's not much to be done.
  11. As a business owner,have owned a few probationary is exactly what it says,not that I have ever done tha,t the decent thing would be to explain why,but not legally entitled to.
    Had a friend who was on a 3 month probation 10 weeks later was told services no longer needed thanks. Nothing she could do.
  12. She also "forgot" to reinstate the prior full compliment of discretionary powers to the new Industrial Relations Tribunal:

    As you said, PT-Bne: Thanks a lot Julia!
  13. I think you'll find that 12 months is the maximum probationary period. Not a minimum. If an employer wants to string you along for that amount of time without something concrete it's a pretty fair bet they're not worth investing much of your time with anyway.
    If your girlfriend was doing a good job but got the @rse anyway, then I'd see that as a good thing. She's not wasting her life on a dead end job. Find an employer that appreciates your efforts and you'll both be happier. There's heaps of @rseholes out there but plenty of good bosses as well. Just keep looking. Word of mouth is a good thing. For both parties.
  14. having just read through her contract that she signed at the start, it is very light on - not that I am expert. I think I will get a legal opinion on it. It is total horseshit given the positive feedback she has gotten, her boss who reports to the owner, said he would be a referee if she needs one for the new job... as he thought she did a great job... it was the owners decision, and he couldnt stop her.

    The contracts says "employment subject to probationary period, and ongoing employment is a result of a successful completion of this period. Should we have any concerns with your performance or conduct during this period, we will discuss these with you." My reading of that, they didn't do that at all, and quite the opposite, gave numerous praises for work she had done. It might not be open and shut but I think based on this, it might be worth spending the coin, to have a sit down with an IR lawyer or some such.
  15. sorry mate, doesn't look like she's got a leg to stand on.

    during the probationary period they can fire you at any time they want, with or without reason.
  16. Why are you so hellbent on your girlfriend working for that particular company? As I understand it, the owner of the company does not want her working there. For whatever reason. Do you think a ruling from an arbitration board or similar will make the owner suddenly happy to have her working there? Do you think that would make a happy and positive enviroment to spend 8 hours 5 or 6 days a week? Or are you just after some sort of compensation? Move on. Forget it. Plenty more places to work.

  17. Ditto ,
    Plus managers can say what they like, they dont sign the pay cheques the owner does, and he/she gets the final say. It's maybe unethical to sack without reason during probation but it can and does happen.

    I myself have two probation time frames, one being 3 months and the next being six months, I have certain criteria that must be proven at each passing or my contract becomes null en void, bye bye end off story!
  18. sounds more like after money, then a return to work place order in my opinion. Let it go, if she got the job through an agency, let the agency know, and get another. 5% unemployment and record job ad's...
  19. Definitely don't want her to go back to work there. Just wanting to inflict some simple pain on the employer if we have a case for the pain and grief they have caused. Although reading the FWA website, not much of a leg to stand on - but I still think the contract around feedback during the probation was not met.

    And while i hear you about moving on, its about not letting employers be bullies. Put it down to me be being bullied as a kid, as an adult, i won't stand for it.
  20. Toughen up and get a new job. If she was good, then the new employers will reap the benefits, and the old employers will lose. Too many people have a sook about it these days.