New hire: How much notice due before firing?

The job of Service Equipment Mechanic required a 2-mo probationary period for new employees. The policy manual also specified a supervisory progress report during this time to let new hires know how they were doing.


The job of Service Equipment Mechanic required a 2-mo probationary period for new employees. The policy manual also specified a supervisory progress report during this time to let new hires know how they were doing.

Fred Kalko's report, issued 6-wk after his starting date, wasn't encouraging. Too slow, inadequate comprehension of drawings and prints, etc. At the end of the probationary period, the employee was advised by Maintenance Supervisor Jack Healy that he would have to let him go.

"It's not fair," Kalko protested. "You didn't give me a chance. If you discussed my faults earlier, I would have had time to correct them. Besides, you shouldn't have waited until the last day to fire me."

Healy disagreed. "'For one thing," he replied, "you had more than 2-wk after the progress report to show signs of improvement. I saw no change in your performance. It's clear to me you lack the knowledge and experience needed for the job. No provision in the manual specifies a requirement that a probationary employee be informed in advance of his termination. I'm sorry, Fred, but in my judgment you're too light for the job."

Kalko persisted in his belief that he had been unfairly treated and threatened to sue.

Question : Does Kalko have a legitimate beef?

Rudin's verdict: "The termination stands," Plant Engineer Vincent Rudin ruled when informed of Kalko's threat. "No provision in the policy manual specifies a time frame for either evaluating a probationary employee's performance or informing him of the decision to keep him on or let him go. Nor is there an indication that Kalko was mistreated or discriminated against in any way, or that the handling of his case was inconsistent with the way other probationary judgments were made."

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Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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