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Can you be dismissed after your probationary period?

(19 Posts)
Laura05 Sat 27-Nov-10 16:02:42

Hi All,

Ive just discovered im pregnant (guessing 5 weeks) but i'm still in my probationary period at work. Can my boss decide not to keep me on because its still probationary? Im really worried that i'm not going to have a job.

StealthPolarBear Sat 27-Nov-10 16:04:26

Yes afaik you can be dismissed for any reason in the first year, but if itwas as a result of your pregnancy then that would be sex discrimination, with all that entails.

Laura05 Sat 27-Nov-10 16:07:08

Ok but how would I know if its because of my pregnancy? saying that i havent told him and dont plan on doing so untill my 12 week scan. I have my review meeting around the same time so i guess i could wait to see what his decision is and then tell him. I suppose if he says hes happy for me to stay and then i tell him and he changes his mind that would discrimination.

lucielooo Sat 27-Nov-10 16:09:40

I don't think there's any harm in waiting until your review period is over before you tell them if you can - you're not obliged to inform your work until 25 weeks so it's certainly what I would do.

Laura05 Sat 27-Nov-10 16:11:20

ok that's the plan, cheers xx

StealthPolarBear Sat 27-Nov-10 16:11:42

yes, good plan
Unfortunately I don't think there's any way to know for sure. Are you the only one in your probationary period atm?

lucielooo Sat 27-Nov-10 17:52:46

and also bear in mind that lots of people don't make the announcement until well after 12 weeks for various reasons, so there's no reason for them to think you've been hiding it from them, if you see what I mean! Good Luck!

RibenaBerry Sat 27-Nov-10 17:56:15

Yes, wait and tell them after the review. That way, if they don't keep you on, you will not feel it's discrimination. And they don't have a chance to discriminate. Win win.

As others have said, there is really no reason to tell your boss early unless you work with chemicals or whatever. Sadly, early pregnancy is unpredictable (I've been there) and it can be harder if there is a problem and everyone knows.

japhrimel Sat 27-Nov-10 18:17:42

Do be aware that if you don't tell your boss and need to take any time off, either for pregnancy related illness or appointments, they can hold it against you. The anti-discrimination legislation that protects you from having pregnancy related sick leave held against you only kicks in if you've actually told your boss!

BagofHolly Sat 27-Nov-10 19:48:49

The other way of looking at it is that if you DO announce your pregnancy now, and they decide not to keep you on, the onus is on them to show that it ISN'T because of your pregnancy, as it's very hard indeed to get rid of a pregnant woman. Food for thought??!!

RibenaBerry Sun 28-Nov-10 13:22:29

Just to respond to a couple of points.

If you get sick and need time off, you can always tell them at the time. There's no need to have told them in advance of the problem as such. Yes, if you are very sick, I would think about telling them.

Personally I never advocate using pregnancy as a way of preventing your employer treating you like anyone else. That's a personal choice, but I'd rather feel that my employer had made a genuine decision without knowing about my pregnancy than that they would have got rid of me, but felt 'stuck with me' because I was pregnant and they were scared I would say that was why I was fired.

MissLolita Mon 29-Nov-10 13:57:33

Hi Laura, firstly congratulations!
My advice is to check your contract about probationary period dismissal - you will probably find that they have specified a notice period on either side for your probationary period and as with any role they will need to provide evidence/a valid reason why they want to terminate your contract - they can of course use things as minor as attendance and time keeping as a reason during probationary but they can't just say it's because you're pregnant. Probationary periods are there as a get-out clause on both sides so the agreement can be terminated quickly and easily if things don't work. After probationary you are on much firmer footing and will be bound by typically different terms and conditions (notice period, grievance and disciplinery processes etc). However, I disagree with BagofHolly - it isn't really anymore difficult to get rid of a pregnant woman than a non-pregnant woman - it's a bit of a myth. Being pregnant doesn't give you protection from conduct/performance issues etc. Also, if you take time off for pregnancy related sickness your employer is completely within their rights to insist you start maternity leave regardless of how far along you are; and of course if you are in probationary you probably aren't entitled to any enhanced benefits and would only be entitled to statutory mat leave only.
Both DH and I workin in HR related fields and specifically my DH specialises in 'headcount reduction' i.e. he's a hatchet man.
Anyway, not sure if this is helpful - there isn't really a straight answer...sorry!

Sparklies Mon 29-Nov-10 15:04:54

I agree with most of what MissLolita says, but for what it's worth, an employer can only force you to take maternity leave through sickness after 36 weeks. Or at least that was how it was in 2008 anyway! I was off from 18 weeks due to needing to be on strict bedrest for incompetent cervix, and my maternity leave could only kick in at 36 weeks. It was sick pay (fortunately in my case it was full pay) until then.

mamatomany Mon 29-Nov-10 15:13:23

I have to say I knew my boss was up to something, she'd been stealing, fiddling flex time and all sorts, I was documenting it and she found my evidence against her.
So I announced my pregnancy about a day after the test.
For some very odd reason they still decided to let me go for being sneaky WTF ? But I was able to sue them for £4k. But it was only because they knew they would loose in a tribunal, if you have no reason to believe they wouldn't keep you on pregnancy aside I would tell them just in case you need any time off.

mamatomany Mon 29-Nov-10 15:14:27

*Doh lose

MissLolita Mon 29-Nov-10 15:53:18

Sparlies, you're right I have just checked with dh and they can put you on unpaid sick with immediate effect which they can run through to mat leave (starting at 36 weeks)although in practice this would be incredibly hard to enforce and most companies would honour sick pay for the time off. This has just happened to someone we know apparently - she was very ill in the first 12 weeks and her company signed her off on unpaid leave.

Mamtomany, that sounds awful! You are right 'being sneaky' is not a valid reason for sacking someone!!

mamatomany Mon 29-Nov-10 16:24:13

I cannot imagine what being pregnant whilst working their would have been like tbh, was glad to get out but writing that cheque would have choked them grin

RibenaBerry Mon 29-Nov-10 17:56:14

MissLolita- that's not quite right. They can only put you on unpaid leave if people are not generally entitled to sick pay. You have a right to be treated like any other sick leave for pay purposes, or it's discrimination. Your friend's company must not have automatically granted sick pay.

Kellygirl1234 Tue 10-Feb-15 14:50:13

Hi everyone Ive worked at my place for 6 months and my probation period is not over until another 3 months I am currently 7 weeks pregnant and need to know if they can dismiss me or how to tell them ?

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