Probationary Employees

Pursuant to regulation, 5 CFR § 315.803, the probationary period for competitive service employees, and the trial period for excepted service employees, provides the Agency with the opportunity to assess the fitness of an employee and to terminate an employee’s services during the probationary period if that employee fails to demonstrate fully their qualifications for continued employment.

For individuals in the competitive service outside the Department of Defense, the probationary period is one year. For the excepted service, the trial period can vary, but is often either one or two years.

Attorneys in the Employment and Labor Law Unit (ELLU) provide legal counsel to managers who are contemplating possible personnel or disciplinary actions against employees who are still completing their probationary or trial periods.   ELLU attorneys work with Employee Relations staff to review personnel files and do legal research to confirm the employee’s probationary status. Solicitors can help to identify any legal liabilities associated with a proposed personnel or disciplinary action against a probationary employee. Solicitors can also provide legal sufficiency review of any written documents associated with a personnel or disciplinary action taken against a probationary employee. Finally, solicitors will defend the agency in any legal actions brought by probationary employees who have been subjected to disciplinary action.

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