5 Reasons That Can Get You Terminated During Probation

Probation period is a frame of introductory or trial time before someone is extended a confirmed position with a company. The probation period is mainly associated with permanent employment, as contractual position do not normally have probation in practice. The primary purpose of the probation is to allow an employer to assess new employee’s suitability that will grant a continued employment with the organization. An unofficial way to think is to regard probation as a ‘qualifying period’. A probation period is not compulsory but is always recommended in the employment practice.

Usually, the period of probation lasts between 3 to 6 months. However, depending on circumstances and the prevailing needs of the company, it can be shorter or longer than that. An employee who passes the probation period is called a confirmed employee. A probation period may be extended when the initial stipulated period has not been satisfactory for the company to make up their mind and decides if you should be confirmed.

Here is how the probation can possibly fail you and result in termination of employment:

1. Your work performance

By right, your work performance is the primary indicator that decides if you are to be confirmed, or else terminated. There may or may not be a standard reporting procedure or performance appraisal in place (since there is no legislative requirement that instructed a company to have one), but at the end of day, the employer should be able to know if your performance is up to the expected standard.

While your resume and your interview performance impart an impression that you are ready to take the job, your daily job performance can exhibit otherwise. A fair employment practice is to have periodical meeting between the employer and the new employee to review your work performance, address the performance related issues, and devise strategy how the employee can improve and elevate the work performance up to the accepted standard.

2. Lack of attitude

If you manage to show good work performance but your attitude towards your work provides indication that you’re a little bit “off”, then chances are you won’t be converted into a permanent staff, and soon will be handed the ‘ding dong’ letter. Competent worker who does not have the right attitude will not stay at the top for long. Addressing your attitude problem adversely affects your manager’s resources as more time is needed to manage your issues. Attitude problem also resulted in lowly motivated and negative bunch of employees.

Personally, I prefer to work with less competent people with the right attitude rather than with a competent people with lack of attitude. In the past, I have come across coworkers who were great in doing their job but were annoyingly pathetic in attitude and behavior. Needless to say, the bad attitude affected the overall performance of the team and the company. Some were moody in their job. Some bitched on a lot of silly things. Some others lied to their colleagues.

3. Misconduct

A company is run based on some appropriate code of conduct, rules and regulations. Rules are there in their place to maintain discipline and harmony in the organization. Termination due to misconduct is not only applicable during probation but across your whole employment with your organization. Some misconducts are serious that they granted immediate termination (or even reported to the police) – e.g. causing bodily harm to fellow colleagues, verbally threatening the life of your boss and so on. Your refusal to carry out lawful instructed duty can also deemed as a misconduct.

4. Not a team player

A strong and competent team can only be successfully developed if each and every member in the team can work together. As we have constantly heard – there is no ‘i’ in the word ‘team’. Being a team player means that you are willing to contribute ideas and participate in activities and discussions. It means you accept accountability and ownership of your designated task and role. It means you recognize and acknowledge the contribution of other team members. If you can’t be a team player, then might as well you don’t be in the team. It’s as simple as that. So to avoid early exit, get to know your colleagues, get along well with them, and blend into the team.

5. Can’t adapt to the work culture

If you’re fresh from the college, don’t expect the employment world to be anything like during your college time. If you do, then your fate is inevitable. You will fail your probation miserably. You may as well experience a culture shock in your very first job. If, during your schooling time, most of your needs and information were spoon-fed from the teachers and lecturers, don’t expect to get the same treatment in the working world. Welcome to the real world. The same advice goes to experienced staff. No two companies are the same, especially when we are talking about the increasingly competitive industry. If you’re working as fast as a Toyota in your past employment, always be prepared to work at the speed of a Mercedes in your next job.

Probation is not only for the employer’s cause.

With all the above being discussed, many have this gross misconception that probation is a clause merely used to protect the interest of the employer. Perhaps the most painful part is the short notice of work termination, e.g. the employer can terminate your service during probation period by giving you a week notice (or even immediate notice). While this may be true to some extent, the probation is also here to give you, the new employee, an opportunity to obtain a similar objective. This is especially true when you are being approached or courted by a recruiter/headhunter during your early days with the new company. If the job is not suitable for you (for whatever reason), you can also leave the company within the period stated in your employment letter.

23 Replies to “5 Reasons That Can Get You Terminated During Probation”

  1. Thanks for sharing. You article remind me of one my ex-colleagues who’re smart. Graduated with good CGPA. But she end up terminated at the end of probation due to difficulties to adapt to the work environment. She is smart, but the is slow learner on the real work environment , which require you to be fast learner to catch up new technology.

  2. Recently my colleague who is still in probation period has been asked by my manager to find another job and resign. (Currently still attach with my company since not yet able to get a new job)

    According to the manager, it is nothing about that girl’s job performance, is her personality not suitable. By the way, she has not stated clearly or showing any intention to tell what is the actual cause and that girl feel very innocent. From the feedback of other colleagues, they do not feel any personality problem of that girl.

    In this case, is that the girl can retain her rights to sue the employer according to unfair dismissal?
    Even if she found other job and resign in future, is that she still has the rights to take action againts the employer threats when the manager ask her to resign and tells her that she will not be confirmed even she stay in the company?

    Hope to get your advise.

    1. There’s a lot of ambiguity/uncertainty here because we do not know which specific of country law, and if the person is covered by employment act or not, but to generalize:

      If it is indicated in her contract that the employer has the right to terminate her probation with or without reason, then she has a little or no case.

      However, it is important to note that every employee, even a probationary staff is entitled for natural justice and as such if she feels she is being victimized she should talk to local labor (or industrial) office and get some advice what to do.

      1. Thanks for your reply.

        Another thing that I concern is in Malaysia is that employees with basic salary above RM1500 not cover under Employment Act 1955?

  3. i just join 1 company and work there for 4 month, but my company take over by new owner, he want to terminated me with 1 month notis and salary. is it posibble for me to accept it. i didnt do anyting wrong, they just want to terminated me because want to cut cost.

    1. You’re being laid off for business reason. Usually, the LIFO (last in, first out) concept applies during retrenchment or cost cutting strategy, where employees who were hired most recent are laid off first with some compensation.

  4. Dear Sir,

    On 17th Dec,2008 my company hired a staff who claimed that she has 20 years of working experience in accounting though all her entries were keyed into the books manually. Based on her experience, my company decided to hire her.

    On the first day of work, my boss gave all the new employees a briefing and an overall picture of what was needed of them. By boss then went to each new staff and asked whether they faced any problem or needed any further explanation as were are using an accounting software to key our data.

    Subsequently, we found out that she is not well versed in accounting as she had claimed in her interview. When my boss confronted her, she gave many excuses. He then sat with her and gave her one to one training in accounting and informed her that at any point of time if she had any problems, to come and see him or me for guidance.

    Until today, her work is going down the drains and my boss is very upset on this issue. Furthermore, i have to constantly spoon feed her and check on her work all the time. This affects my job performance as I have datelines to meet.

    In her employment contract we have stated that either party will have to give two weeks notice of termination.My question to you is whether we can serve her the termination letter or is there a warning letter to be given first before serving her the termination notice. So far, she has other attitude problem such as not taking instruction and performing the work according to requirements, lack of concentration and does the work according to her wishes.


    1. Presuming she does not go through probation, the safest path is perhaps to slap her with warning letters (seems there is enough ground for 2 warnings), and eventually termination.

  5. a girl has appointed as the HR Manager on 16th September 2008 under 3 mths probatio, however she asked to by the employer on 10th November 2008 for some reasons. she gave resignation letter on 13th November 2008 stating that she leaves the w.e.f 15th November 2008 and she didnt report to duty from 16th November 2008 However, the company has paid full salary for the month November 2008.

    Now, the girl has filed a complaint in the labour dept requesting unsettled salary for 1st to 12th November 2008. Does she entitled for it as the company had already paid full salary for the month of November 2008.

    Please advise.

  6. We have a problem with one of our staff (with some 11 years of experience).

    We hired her in May 2007 (letter of offer). There is a 3 month probation clause.

    She was confirmed only in February 2008.

    However, recently after coming back from maternity her work perfomance has gone downhill.
    She is not productive, is slow and has failed to carry out instructions from her superior which caused our client to incur additional payment. Her attitude towards work and people refelects that she is naive and her naiveity creates problems in the office. As her superior, I have to constantly checked her work and monitor closely despite being a senior clerk.

    Our firm has decided that we are unable to continue with her services. We have given her a warning letter after her failure to follow instructions. Her explanations to whatever mistakes she makes are really not acceptable for a person of her seniority.

    Please advise on how we can terminate her services properly.


    1. Dear Susan,

      I would not be appropriate for you to terminate her performance only after one warning letter. Build up a case against her. This how you can do it. Advice her immediate suprvisor to monitor her perfomance closely. Record every mistakes that she makes in her job.

      It would also be appropriate if you could have a counselling session with her to advice her on her shortcomings so that she is equally given an opportunity to express herself since she has been having this problem only after she came back from her maternity. She may be having some personal problems.

      Should she continue to be under performing, issue her with another stern warning letter and include all the instances where she has made errors which could jeorpardize her work. Give her a timeline to imporve herself and should she not improve within the timeline, you can terminate her accordingly.

      The pricniple her is to give her opportunity and a considerable time to imporve in her performance before the management resorts to terminate her.

  7. this company is relatively new and has a probationary staff who is not performing as expected. he started on 3 sept 2008 and the probationary period is 6 mths. his job designation is sales n marketing executive and has done nothing to bring-in or introduce new clients to the company. his work performance is way below the company’s expectations. the company’s mistake was to not issue him either a warning letter or a probationary extension letter. now they need to terminate him. the question is how do they terminate him properly as according to the malaysian labour law and not offending either party?

  8. I just want to know is it up to employer if let say that i will get confirmation in a week, but a week passed. No information given whether I got confirmed or not, no letter saying that I got extended either. I got a valid reason that management are firing ppl (one already left) in an excuse of underperforming while the real reason is retrenchment. My colleague was given 24 hour notice.

    Another one was going to be terminated in another month due to the same excuse. And I was in between these two guys and management keep mum about it. LIFO is not being practiced due to the excuse of firing (underperformed). This is a Malaysian company. Our salary is more than 1.5k but less than 2.5k. Are we in any way protected by msian employment law?

    Another question, since i was not given a copy of my employment contract, do i have the right to ask for it?

    thank you.

  9. Hi Yohanna,

    I really think your company should have a proper procedure on monitoring probationars. I looks like he would be confirmed by now though he has not been performing! Some things that you have to ponder before taking any action :

    1. Were there any targets given for his sales achievement. If no, then start giving him targets. Communicate
    to him of the companies expectation. This action should not be done only for him as this will eb seen as
    penalizing him. Do it for all you other sales staff. The target should be a realistic one.

    2. Should he not achieving the targets given, give him reminder letter, statign that his performance will be
    monitored for a further 3 month.

    3. If after the 3 months he still fails to improve, then oyu ought to give him a final remidner to improve or else
    he will be subject to termination

    The principle here is to give him ample opportunity to imporve sicne you guys missed the boat to terminate him during his probationary period itself.

  10. i had one staffs ( site clerk with monthly salary RM 1000.00) who joined us on 23/2/09 and her probation period was 6 mths. during probation period she pregnant but didnt inform us during interview. she given birth on 9/7/09 & her maternity leave until 6/9/09. due to she didnt inform she pregnant, we allowed her to entitled 1 month Maternity leave with paid only.
    my question was she supposed confirm on Sept 09, but because her on 2 mths maternity leave during probation period, these 2 mths maternity leave consider also as probation period for her ? our opinion was shouldnt included these 2 mths, therefore she should confirm on Nov 09.
    may i know our actions was right and meets the labour laws or other best advice from you ?

    thks for your reply & help

  11. My friend works with one of the well-known theme park in Kuala Lumpr. She is doing sales related of work, which required her to go out performing her duty. However, the employer refused to pay her claim although she had actually process the claimed in accordance with HR procedure. Does she has the right to sue the company?

    1. In the first place, is she entitled for claim (which is supported by document or memo)? If she is, find out the reason WHY the claim was rejected before doing anything.

  12. I have an issue that I need to resolve. My Letter of Offer states that my basic salary is rm4500 with transport allowance is rm4900. It is also stated what my job function is, basically to manage a team of sales and technical people with the added responsibility of doing all the admin work. My probation period is 3months extendable to 6 months. The issue is:
    1. Been here for 6 months and still have not inform me anything about my probation.
    2. The company started in 2010 and thus has been around for >1 year. But has not performed in any way. They had problems with the staff all the time. But I found out that this is not true with the staff but on how it has been managed (1 man show).
    3. So the first 3 months i have been here 4 people resigned and the reason given the MD-CEO does not keep to his words and demotivates them.
    4. Issues in the company was tardiness and sales.
    5. I manged to improve tardiness by 100%. Sales affected by the negative attitude of the staff because of the MD always interfering into my management choice.
    6. Currently he has been deucting my salary from the basic, his reason is company got no sales so I am responsible. Can he do this?

  13. Hi, I need some advice from you. I have recently joined this company in Malaysia in January 2012 , its a well known MNC in FMCG industry. During my probation period of 3 months, i actually went for an operation for 2 weeks, i was hospitalized, when i return, HR actually gave me a letter stating that unable to evaluate my performance and that it was affected when I was hospitalized, so they extended my probation to 16 May. Until today 06 June, I have not received any confirmation nor any evaluation on my performance. But just today, my boss asked to see me and claimed that he knows I went for an interview outside, and he gave me 2 days to think about it, if I decided to leave, he will give me 1 to 2 months to look for a job and he will not confirm me. He also quoted lightly that my performance is not good as feedback by my marketing manager, which I asked him to indicate to me in detail which part of my performance but he couldn’t. My question, a) Am I consider a confirmed employees? ( i also know that there’re quite a number of employees in the company who have worked more than a year but have yet received official confirmation letter too), b) If my employees as me to leave by giving me notice, should it be 1 month as stated in probation or 3 months notice treating me as confirmed staff?c) Is there anything I can do? Thanks

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