Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session – Second Probationary Period in Same Agency

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

I have provided service at the same medical center for two years. My initial position was in administrative support. The annual evaluation was outstanding and probation was completed. Two months later, I was promoted through internal means to a position that entitled me to an increase in one grade. Then, three months later, I found a position (in the same facility) that was in my field of collegiate studies. I was not able to send an application internally due to time in grade requirements. I applied through USAJOBS and was interviewed/selected for the position. Human resources has put me on a second probation for this new position. Is it possible to be placed on a second probation in this situation?

A:

Depending on how you were appointed, you can sometimes be required to undergo a second probationary period if you go into a new line of work. If you are a preference eligible veteran, it is most likely a mistake to require you to undergo a second probationary period. Your remedy is an MSPB appeal if management removes you for failure to complete this second period, assuming you can show it is unauthorized.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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