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What Are Your Rights During A Probationary Period At A New Job?

Posted on October 12, 2017 | Employment Law

When starting a new job, many workers are told they are in a probationary or introductory period. These periods vary in length but often last between 30 or 90 days. As you train into your job, the period can provide an opportunity for both you and your employer to see whether the job is a good long-term fit.

While your employer may withhold some benefits, such as vacation time, until you complete the probationary period, you still have many important rights and protections under law. Here are three important ones.

1. You may not be fired for a discriminatory reason.

California, like most states, is an “at-will” employment state, which means that unless your employment contract says otherwise, you may leave a job at any time, and your employer may terminate you at any time, as long as the termination is not for an illegal reason.

Even on your very first day on the job, however, you may not be fired for an illegal reason, including on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy, disability or membership in any other protected class.

2. You may not be fired for reporting wrongdoing.

No matter how long you’ve been on the job, you have the right to safe working conditions. It is illegal for your employer to fire you because you reported unsafe situations, sexual harassment or other problems.

3. You have the right to request reasonable accommodations.

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, you have the right to ask your employer for reasonable accommodations that will enable you to do your job. You do not have to wait until your probationary period is over to request the accommodations you need. It is your employer’s responsibility to address your needs in a timely manner through an interactive process.

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