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I received a job offer and signed a contract. It then took maybe two weeks to fulfill some onboarding tasks and submit some documents. Then after being fully approved I was confirmed to begin training. I then did a week of training before being sent out into the field to shadow and learn under an employee, in a certain type of field technician job. On the morning of the sixth day of working in the field, I was called and told promptly to return to the office, where I was informed that I had made this and that terrible mistake and that HR was suspending me. I was asked to write, and did write, a long written account of why I had made the mistakes I had made to HR.

I then waited for six days, and got a call from a higher level HR person asking for my verbal explanation on top of my managers account and my written account. I asked them a couple times if they had read the written account I emailed them, he said he had, but he asked me many questions which made it sound like he had not read the report, so I offered to email it to him directly and he accepted. The HR person made it clear they understood why I made some of the mistakes I did but that there was absolutely a conversation going on about whether I was going to be fired or not. I told him it seemed unnecessary to me to go from training to being fired just for making mistakes in the first week in the field, when someone could have just called me and given me feedback and I could have easily just corrected those mistakes. He said he didn’t realize it was my first week and he agreed I should have been getting feedback from my managers.

Come Monday it will be about 11 days since I got surprisingly suspended. I want to understand if I have any rights in this situation, like, can they just hold me on suspension as long as they want, or is there a legally required time frame for them to come to a decision and communicate that with me?

Also, if you sign a contract that you’re gonna be doing a six month trial period, can they actually fire you in the first week just because you weren’t perfectly trained in the first week? It’s actually a big inconvenience to me since I spent all this time investing in what I thought would be a career in the near future. I feel like it’s kind of wasting people’s time to hire them and then immediately fire them. It threatens my income stability. I feel like it’s not good practice to not let new employees make mistakes and get ongoing feedback. Is there anything I can do to make this situation more favorable?

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    Where are you? "Rights" depend on local laws , and are generally a question that needs a labor lawyer or trained advocate to resolve. In most of the US, unless you are in a union which has negotiated a good contract, you can basically be fired at any moment with minimum nal reason, and I have no way of telling from here whether they might have had adequate reason or not. If they feel you misrepresented your skills when applying they can almost certainly fire you for cause. And frankly. It sounds like you should be focused on resuming your job search, rather than waste time arguing this.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 12 at 1:01
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    If they were going to fire you they would’ve done it immediately since your still within the trial window, they don’t need any reason to do so, that’s what the 6 month trial period is for.
    – Donald
    Commented May 12 at 1:55
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    "I feel like it’s not good practice to not let new employees make mistakes and get ongoing feedback" more reasons to go and find a new job then.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented May 12 at 5:29
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    This depends very much on the nature of the "mistake". From the reaction of the company it sounds like it was something serious with potential legal consequences. Without knowing what happened and which legislation is applicable we can't possible comment. Could be that they are dramatically overreacting, could be that they are trying to keep you out of jail.
    – Hilmar
    Commented May 12 at 11:21
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    A company has no right suspending someone (forcing unpaid leave on them) just as the employee has no right to unpaid leave. Unless your contract states something different. I guess it does, but nobody here can help you with that, unless you either post your contract or post the laws and regulations used as the base for your contract.
    – nvoigt
    Commented May 12 at 14:31

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Country and locale is important - that being said:

Are you sure that you did something egregious? Stealing, showing up drunk or high, extreme indifference to safety - those are examples of behavior that deserve immediate termination.

While training, your authorized actions are the responsibility of the trainer. The key point is "authorized". If you made a made a mistake that cause additional work, that is the fault of the trainer, not you.

What type of a mistake that a new employee, with 4 weeks total, can do that could do to deserve a suspension? Likely nothing that isn't bad enough that shouldn't deserve termination.

Training's purpose is obviously to train. New employee are expected to make mistakes during training. With the information provided, how do they intend to make you a productive employee?

This fuzzy area between being trained and being fired the company is calling "suspension" makes no sense. It isn't making you a productive employee, it isn't releasing you. It is the height of poor management. Move on, this company is not acting in good faith. Check with a lawyer if you contract won't let you.

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