Workplace Report June 2007

Features: Law Contracts

Probationary period

Case 2: The facts

Miss Przybylska was appointed as a business development manager. Her contract stated that her first three months of employment would be a probationary period, during which the period of notice was one week for both sides. The employer had the right to extend the probationary period if circumstances had not allowed an objective assessment of performance to be made. After the probationary period, the notice period was three months for both parties.

Przybylska's probationary period expired on 2 January but her probationary review meeting did not take place until 19 January, when her employer said her performance was unsatisfactory. At a second meeting two weeks later, the employer terminated Przybylska's employment with one week's notice on the grounds that she had not successfully completed her probationary period. She did not appeal against the decision, but brought a claim for outstanding notice.

The ruling

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) confirmed that Przybylska was entitled to three months' notice. The employer had had the opportunity to extend her probation, it said, but had not done so. It rejected the employer's argument that, because she had already had performance issues with her work, there had been an implication that the probation period had not been completed.

The EAT upheld Przybylska's claim for the remaining notice, but remitted the case to a remedies hearing for the tribunal to assess what reduction should be made under the statutory dispute resolution procedures because of her failure to appeal.

Przybylska v Modus Telecom Ltd EAT/0566/06