Thursday 11 October 2018
The Fair Work Act is silent on this one. The Act does not specify a set number of warnings or discussions that need to take place with the employee who is within the probation period prior to letting them go.
So technically, you could tell an employee anytime within the probation, that it is not working out and provide them with the required notice period and move on. With no or minimal risk of an unfair dismissal claim. Unless of course you terminated them for an unlawful reason such as they were a blues supporter, had 6 kids or had a shade of blonde hair that you don’t like.
An employer does not need to provide any reason for the termination decision at all. In fact, doing so may lead to a debate or discussion that you do not want to have and you risk saying something you regret. In my opinion, you are best to say very little other than they are not suitable for the role and not getting into any detail which could consequently get you into trouble. There is also no need to get personal, just say that we feel that someone else would be more suitable or a better for the job/team/company etc.
If your goal is to ‘improve’ the person within the probation period to ultimately retain them, then ignore everything I just said, and commence performance management conversations. Be specific and let the employee know what they need to do in order to successfully complete their probation period. Equally as important is to tell them what to ‘stop’ doing which may be affecting their changes of securing permanent employment.
If you are just not sure how to handle termination within the probation period, then give us a call and we can guide you through it. Or if you woud like a free ‘unsuccessful probation letter’ template, just email me firstname.lastname@example.org .