Probationary Periods: Use it or Lose It


Debra Roth, Partner, Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., wrote the article, "Probationary Periods: Use it or Lose It" for the April edition of Federal Times. Her article also appears on the Federal Times website under the "Ask the Lawyer" blog.


Read an excerpt of the article below:

An agency is not legally required to place a probationer on a PIP for a performance problem or go through progressive discipline for acts of misconduct. Indeed, congressional intent in creating the statutory probationary period is that this time would be the get-acquainted period in which the employee has almost no rights, and thus theoretically on their best behavior. So if an employee is having performance, conduct, or attitude problems in their get acquainted period, imagine how he or she will perform or behave when fully vested with all rights? The law does not require a PIP or progressive discipline for probationers. It’s like an at-will status. Congress intended the federal employer to have more flexibility in this time frame to weed out (without conferring legal rights) the good from the bad, quickly and painlessly. The concept of requiring a PIP or progressive discipline is in complete contradiction of congressional intent.

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