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Since the government changed the length of service requirement to two years to bring a claim of unfair dismissal it might be tempting to think that conducting Probation Reviews -why bother? After all the chances of claim are small aren’t they? A recent incident at a client has highlighted to me that conducting and documenting Probation Reviews are still worthwhile. In fact it may be vital in some cases in order to minimise the risk of a future claim involving a protected status.


The situation

A manager had identified issues with an individual and had brought some of them to the probationers attention.  As the end of probation approached, the manager decided that employment should be terminated rather than confirmed. Unfortunately, in the final weeks of probation, the individual announced on social media that she was pregnant and that the Company couldn’t “sack her now”!

The outcome

As the manager had not conducted a formal Probation Review or documented any of the discussions around the performance issues it was acknowledged that to proceed with a dismissal would prove difficult to defend. We decided that, following a probation review meeting, we would institute a more formal review process with the individual and extend the probation period.

Lessons learnt

The client has realised that there was no formal Probation Review process in place to monitor probationer’s performance or to confirm an employee’s permanent appointment. A simple form was developed that enables managers to record performance review discussions that can be retained on the employee’s personal file and used to confirm appointment to permanent staff, extend probation or to terminate employment. Contact me if you would like help in developing a probation review process that fits with your business.

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