Can an employer extend a probation period?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer extend a probation period?

I was hired for a position that I was not experienced in but I was up front at the interview and told them that. When I was hired I was told I would be trained for the position. However, the person that was to train me quit the day before I was hired. I was taken to my office and left. I worked for months feeling I was doing a good job, although I asked a lot of questions. After 5 months right before my probation period ended, I was given a poor performance review mostly ridiculous points made by the new director, who was hired after me and told that the executive director did not want god reviews turned into him and asked to write a corrective plan, which I did. I heard nothing for 2 weeks. Then on the day my probation was to expire, I was told my corrective plan was not acceptable and my probation would be extended for 30 days.

I work for a agency that needs to pass all personal issue by a board. The board held their meeting today, 2 weeks after I received notice that my probation period was extended, I was released from my job 10 minutes after the meeting ended. If they would not have extended the probation period I would not have been able to be fired without a valid reason. Do I have a wrongful termination case?

Asked on May 19, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, no, you would not have a case, even if the employer violated its own internal rules or procedures. Employment is employment at will, with the exceptions noted below: therefore, probation can be extended, or you can be terminated, at any time, for any reason.
If you had a written employment contract or are covered by a union contract, however, they have to honor its terms, so if there was such a contract and it limited the reasons probation could be extended or required some specific process for termination and these provisions were violated, then you may have a suit for wrongful termination and/or breach of contract.
You wrote that you worked for an "agency": if you were part of the civil service, it had to follow service rules, and, if not, you may have a suit for wrongful termination based on that.
However, apart from the above, this would almost certainly be legal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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