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Probationary Period Query

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Good Afternoon All,

 

I hope someone could help me with a problem I am experiencing at work. I joined a company in question on the 1st June 2010. The key areas of my employment contract is below states:

 

 

Probationary Period

You will be required to complete a probationary period of 12 (twelve) weeks from the date of commencement of employment. On the satisfactory completion of the probationary period, your continued employment by the Company will be confirmed in writing to you. If during the probationary period the Company is dissatisfied with your performance, your employment may be terminated in accordance with clause 16 below or the probationary period may be extended.

 

 

Notice of Termination of Employment

During the probationary period the Company may terminate your employment by giving you 1 (one) months written notice before the end of the probationary period. On successful completion of your probation, you are entitled to receive from the Company 12 (twelve) weeks’ notice of termination of your employment.

During your probationary period you may terminate your employment with the Company by giving one months’ written notice. Upon successful completion of the probationary period you must give the Company 12 (twelve) weeks written notice if you wish to terminate your employment.

Notwithstanding the provision of this clause, your employment under this Contract of Employment will be subject to the Company’s ‘Working beyond age 65 policy and procedure’ in force at the time and may be terminated in accordance with that policy.

The Company has the right to terminate your employment without notice if you are in serious breach of the terms and conditions of your employment or in the case of gross misconduct.

The Company may, at its absolute discretion, require you not to attend your place of work for the duration of your notice period

 

Question

 

I handed my notice in today (2/9/2010) giving them one months notice because even though the 12 weeks since I joined has past - I haven’t received any written confirmation that I had passed my probation as it states in of my contract (extract from contract .” On the satisfactory completion of the probationary period, your continued employment by the Company will be confirmed in writing to you”).

 

The company have now come back saying I need to work the full 3 months - because even though I havent received confirmation that I had passed my probation - I should have assumed it has because I wasn’t told of any problems throughout the 3 month period.

 

Could someone please let me know if there are correct or what my position legally is?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

N

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Sounds right to me. They should have confirmed your status in writing. They are trying to hoodwink you.

 

In any case what will they do if you just go?

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Hi papasmurf1cx ,

 

That was my second question - if I just left could they take me to court etc?

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Your position legally is that you have adequate grounds to argue that the condition regarding completion of the probationary period has not been met. My opinion is that if they wished to enforce this, then they should have qualified the condition by stating that 'If no communication is received from the employer either confirming successful completion of the probationary period OR that there are issues which require an extension of the probationary period, then the employee may assume that the probationary period has been successfully completed"

 

It looks to be one of those conditions which would ultimately have to be settled by a Court as it is vague on both sides. I presume that you have another job to go to?


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Hi papasmurf1cx ,

 

That was my second question - if I just left could they take me to court etc?

 

They could, but would they? They could try to sue for breach of contract, but could only claim for damages caused by the breach (need to employ a temp for example). I think you may well be able to defend that.


Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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If I have been helpful in any way - please feel free to click on the STAR to the left!

 

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Your position legally is that you have adequate grounds to argue that the condition regarding completion of the probationary period has not been met. My opinion is that if they wished to enforce this, then they should have qualified the condition by stating that 'If no communication is received from the employer either confirming successful completion of the probationary period OR that there are issues which require an extension of the probationary period, then the employee may assume that the probationary period has been successfully completed"

 

It looks to be one of those conditions which would ultimately have to be settled by a Court as it is vague on both sides. I presume that you have another job to go to?

 

I don’t have another job to go to yet - but I am unhappy as organisation and want to leave. I have been to a couple of interviews and now at the final stage - but don’t want my "3 month" wait to hinder my chances if they ask when I can be available to start

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I would also say that they would have to make a judgement of what they are losing. If your position was so important as to affect their business and you left them on the lurch then you could have a problem. But if you are in a lowly position and easily replaceable then what good would it do them to pursue you? Companies make judgements based on economic criteria ie what is the cheapest option.

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