Probationary period, letting someone go

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RandomEmma

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Nov 29, 2013
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Hi there,
I recently someone 3 weeks ago for an EA role in the company. She performed brilliantly in interview and came across as driven, go-getting and generally a safe pair of hands while I travel.

In the time she's been with the firm, it's clear that she's not up to the role. I've spent two weeks in the office with her, helping her find her way, inductions and the like and I believe it to be a competency issue.

She's unable to handle complex diary management, and seeing alot of my tasks through to completion. For example, calling a supplier, leaving a message but not following up to get the information we needed on several occasions. I receive a detailed list of all the emails that have come in, but she won't have read or acknowledged any of them.

We've had 2 informal reviews and after her second review yesterday, she told me she's had to see her doctor because she's suffering from work-related stress at her new company. I believe we've been very supportive and provided adequate training (no bespoke IT systems etc) but I'm struggling with my own workload now and then having to deal with the backlog of emails from clients.

Is it possible to let her go with her contract notice and pay during her probationary period or do I have to give her much longer than the time she's had so far?

Thanks so much, I want to be supportive but also have to do what's best for the company.
 

Newchodge

Business Member
Nov 8, 2012
16,221
4,584
Newcastle
Just tell her that she does not seem appropriate for the role and give her her contractual notice. Tell her that she can take her outstanding holiday during her notice period and that she does not have to work her notice.

You may well find she is quite relieved.
 
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RandomEmma

Free Member
Nov 29, 2013
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Thank you for the advice. I tried that on Monday and the new EA advised that she had gone to her doctor to let him know she's suffering from work related stress because of her work.

We're a small firm and this lady has come from the board of the local council so it's a different culture for her.
She has started keeping records of her 'training' and taking them home. I'm wondering how you can have work related stress after less than a month in the job.
Should I be worried about letting her go during her probationery period? I feel I've given her long enough.
 
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Im no expert on this by any means.

Could you sit down and ask what aspects of the job are causing her stress? Document it, go off to see if you can find a way to get it to work and if not then get rid as she is incapable of doing the job.

If shes incapable of doing a days work then you cant be threatened into keeping her on. It also costs employees now to go to a tribunal but im sure if you agree to pay her notice period then your pretty much covered anyway whether you go through the above or not.
 
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RandomEmma

Free Member
Nov 29, 2013
3
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Thank you, we did do that today as it happens and she said it was the pace of work. She's come from a background where you were given work to do all day and if you had nothing on because everyone was travelling or in meetings, you took of some time for yourself.
We're different in that there's fewer people with more challenging travel and diary requirements so more juggling, being proactive about hotels,train tickets, etc so the work only really stops when you finish to go home.
 
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Sounds like she has had it cushy and is now struggling with the real world! I would document it that she is struggling to cope with the pace, shes used to her own time in the working day and then say you will have a think... even if you know the outcome.

Then i would want well rid and give her her notice pay and crack on with finding someone new... in future heres a question for you "what did your working day consist of".... every problem is a lesson (as cheesy as it sounds).

EDIT:
This is what i would do. Im not saying its legal/professional/right - i would just begrudge paying someone to be stressed when there are so may people out there who would be over the moon to be working.
 
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The Byre

Legacy Full Member
Aug 13, 2013
11,835
5,127
Dear Random Emma,

Fire her arse whilst you can and be thankful that it won't be too difficult to do. We had one ex-civil servant and she was exactly the same. Totally over her head! Even a simple task like taking minutes and writing up a report required someone else to rewrite the whole thing EVERY time!

I have come to the conclusion (a long, long time ago BTW!) that people become civil servants because they (a) can't cope with the real World and (b) are idle.
 
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Is it possible to let her go with her contract notice and pay during her probationary period or do I have to give her much longer than the time she's had so far?

Thanks so much, I want to be supportive but also have to do what's best for the company.
You could let them go anytime you feel they are not up to the job, if basing the decision on capability; in the first two years of service, this doesn’t require any formalities if the decision is based solely on reasonable grounds, and isn’t discriminatory.
You’re better off being supportive to the rest of the staff & the company, dismissing this incompatible person before they start taking sick leave, causing you more worries – although not necessarily complications.

Should I be worried about letting her go during her probationery period? I feel I've given her long enough.
No, you shouldn’t be worried. Just get rid before she has any chance to plant roots – dismiss with contractual notice (which should be around one week; if you provide more for this stage of employment, change your policies), and move on.

I have come to the conclusion (a long, long time ago BTW!) that people become civil servants because they (a) can't cope with the real World and (b) are idle.
Not all of them, but not an entirely unfair view.
Some of us couldn’t cope with the idle civil service world, so had to leave to actually get back to proper hard work.



Karl Limpert
 
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