Probationary Employee Rights

Jennifer Duke
July 7, 2016
Two men in business attire st at a white table shaking hands in front of a document

The agency will evaluate the employee's performance and conduct during the first year of employment. If an employee meets all the requirements for their position, the employee will successfully complete the probationary period and become a non-probationary federal employee.

What rights does a federal probationary employee have?

Many of the procedures and job protections that apply to federal employees do not apply until after the completion of the probationary period. However, that is not to say that no protections apply.

Discrimination is prohibited regardless of whether an employee is probationary or not, and a probationary employee is fully entitled to protect their rights by engaging the agency's EEO office if the employee thinks they are being subjected to unlawful discrimination.

The most notable area in which probationary employees do not enjoy the same rights as other employees is job protection. A probationary employee may be terminated during his or her probationary period for any non-discriminatory reason with minimal procedural requirements.

A large, older hand prepares to flick a blue silhouette of a man against a grey background

While a non-probationary employee must be given notice that their removal has been proposed, and an opportunity to respond to the proposal, a probationary employee need only receive notice of the reason or reasons for termination and the effective date.

Furthermore, apart from a few specific circumstances, probationary employees do not have the right to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB").

Can a probationary employee appeal to the MSPB?

In limited cases, a probationary employee can appeal to the MSPB. This is permitted only in two situations:

  • The employee alleges that they were discriminated against on the basis of marital status or for partisan political reasons.
  • The termination is the result of events, activities, or conduct which occurred before the employee was appointed to their position.

In the second situation, the employee is entitled to notice of the proposed termination and a right to respond, as well as to appeal to the MSPB.

Determining your rights and the best way to protect them as a probationary employee can be difficult. If you are a probationary employee and are concerned that you might be terminated or that you are being discriminated against, the federal employee attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. may be able to help. Call or message us today using the form below to discuss your situation and learn how we can assist you.

This blog and web site published by Melville Johnson, P.C. should not be used as a substitute for seeking competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney. Readers of this information should not act upon any information contained on this blog or website without seeking professional counsel.
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