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Being put on probation when its not in contract?

(12 Posts)
milkmummy1 Sun 03-Aug-08 15:49:31

Please can anyone help, i really need some proper advice as my HR dept have told me that any advice needs to go through my line manager otherwise to obtain info off the internet, which is not very helpful at this time!
basically ive worked for the same large organisation for the last 12 years but started a new post in a different dept upon return from mat leave 6 months ago. My line manager put me on probation even though it wasnt in my contract. i have questioned this before with her (before realising it wasnt in my contract) and said i did not think it was appopriate as i had already gone through the probation stage 12 years ago.she said she had the right to do this as it was in a new post.
last week i had a horrible probation meeting where i was told (with no backed up evidence) that i was not doing well and that they were extending my probation. she mentioned incapable and incompetent and threatened me with this procedure if i didnt show improvement. she has generalised things im doing wrong with no specific examples liek 'you are not showing you are 'able' and 'ready' for the next stage and that they have 'concerns' abotu me. as i said, no examples even though i asked what she meant. she wrote this horribel report about me and then tried to hint that i shoudl look for another job by suggesting places i apply to. i then went home upset and looked at my contract which doesnt say that my employment is subject to probation. it says that my emplyment rights date back to 1996. also in some other documentation they sent me at the time states that only employees new to the organisation will undergo a probation period. i wrote a letter in quoting my contract and i thought they would just write back saying that i am no longer on probation etc etc but they have sent me back the grievance procedure saying it needs to go through this route. i dont want to do a grievance as i am too weak and dont want the stress. i dont know if this is part of their plan to force me out as they know i wont want the hassle of a formal complaint. surely they jsut need to go by whats in my contract? i am very upset as am worried that after 12 years i wont have a job and am anxious and stressing about it all
any advcice appreciated
Many thanks

juneybean Sun 03-Aug-08 17:11:39

I'm sorry you're going through this I'll bump up your message <hugs>

lulumama Sun 03-Aug-08 17:16:00

i thikn you need ACAS or to speak to union rep if you have one. you need proper advice and quickly

ilovemydog Sun 03-Aug-08 17:23:11

Why was your job changed when you came off maternity leave? Presumably you were doing fine until they changed your job?

elkiedee Sun 03-Aug-08 17:53:58

I think you need to seek union/legal advice - it seems odd that they put you on probation when you returned from maternity leave. I don't know if under the circumstances you would be able to show discrimination but it all sounds very suspicious.

milkmummy1 Sun 03-Aug-08 19:05:49

thanks all. just to clarify it was a new post i applied for so an internal tranfser. i received a new contract but no mention of probationary conditions

ilovemydog Sun 03-Aug-08 19:37:54

So, you applied for an internal transfer while you were on maternity leave?

The problem with the company implemented the probationary period is that they will try and use it to justify disciplinary action etc

Were you given proper training for your role? Has your line manager identified a training schedule?

The whole thing sounds really bizarre, first in them not being specific about performance, but expressing 'concerns?'

And then in saying that you need to implement the grievance procedure when you pointed out an inconsistency.

Is there any union representation? You really need someone in your corner who knows the company's internal policies...

PeaMcLean Sun 03-Aug-08 19:43:41

Sounds very very dodgy. If its not in the contract, then it doesn't exist.

I understood that probationary periods were not a legal concept and irrelevant anyway cos until you've been with the company for 12 months you have fewer rights anyway, whether you've passed your probationary period or not. You however have had 12 years of continual service.

Call Acas. Definitely.

Hecate Sun 03-Aug-08 19:51:14

I think the key to all this is MATERNITY LEAVE! Is it co-incidence that this started now? Is this your first child? do you think they are trying to get rid of you because you are now a parent? You need proper advice. Now.

smittenkitten Sun 03-Aug-08 20:06:45

this sounds bizarre. You cannot be on probation after working for a company for 12 years. This does sound like a manager with an agenda. Your HR dept telling you to look on the internet is not good enough.

I would get in touch with the most senior HR person and explain the situation and explain that you want to resolve the misunderstanding without resorting to the formal grievance procedure. Be very calm and measured and professional - Hr depts tend to see a lot of loons.

if there are issues with your performance you should be given specific examples of the concerns and be agreeing an action plan with specific goals and measurable areas for improvement. Just saying things like you're not proving 'able' is not good enough.

I am incensed on your behalf! good luck!

flowerybeanbag Mon 04-Aug-08 09:47:23

Everyone has given good advice. If you are in a union do speak to them.

I don't think you should have to raise a grievance to resolve this, but you might have to. Plus if you end up taking this further at any point, you will need to have raised a grievance first, so it's not a bad idea to do so.

I agree with smittenkitten about approaching senior HR person and saying you want to resolve situation without resorting to grievance, but give them a short timescale for this, and be prepared to raise a grievance. It's not that hard, you would just need to do a letter saying what you've said to us to the right person. It might be stressful, but it's stressful already.

Probation doesn't have any meaning in law, it's just a tool used by employers to manage new employees. That's why you need to clear this up. But don't worry, the fact that your manager has said you are on 'probation' doesn't affect your employment rights at all. You need to clarify what this all means, and what the terms of your 'probation' in this new job are, and be prepared to raise a grievance, about this, and about any concerns raised about your performance without specifics or without you being given an opportunity to address them.

Must run, hope that helps a bit, good luck.

sotonmum Mon 04-Aug-08 10:06:07

It sounds as if they are trying to manage you out by saying that you are not meeting the performance standards....and have muddled this with probation!!

were you given any written objectives when you started your new role?
Are there clearly documentated standards for the job you have to do.

I agree that general comments such as inadequate are not sufficient for them to demonstrate poor performance or for you to be able to do anything about it.

the advice above to ask for a meeting with a senior hr rep is good - you can start by saying how concerned you are and how you are finding it difficult to deal with the very general comments you have received. you can make it positive by saying you would like to work together with the company / line manager to resolved this but you need clear guidance and specific written, measurable achievable objectives to do this. This will force them to document what it is you need to do. this shows willing which is always what hr departments like to see - they are employee advocates as well as supporting the business and if there is a "rogue" line manager they will want to reign that person in as they are creating business risk.

Good luck!

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