I apologise in advance for the length of this post but I wanted to make sure I was able to give all the details up front.
I started working for a very large company 4 months ago as a software engineer. All is well and it's a great place to work, the first month gave me some transport problems and as a result my manager said at the time that they would length my probation (hence the 4 months, as of last week). This was fine, I wasn't late but he also wasn't sure if I'd be able to maintain my arrangement, anyway, I digress.
2 months in the contractor I was sitting next to left and a girl from the other team took his place. It's no secret that she's untidy, her desk is a wreck. Mouldy cups, mess everywhere and so on.
She sits in between myself and a friend of mine that started before I did. We became aware of the mess and the distractions it caused (she liked to swear - A LOT - my belief is that was an attention seeking thing as she'd often swear, look up to see if her old team members noticed and then swear louder if they hadn't) - the final straw was when we saw her sweep cereal onto the floor and crush it in. When I asked her if she'd had a fight with the floor she replied that it was to spite one of the cleaners that had annoyed her. This prompted myself and friend to ask the manager to have a word, he sent her an email. The floor became cleaner and the swearing stopped.
All seemed well and another month passed, then last week it took a nose dive. She also had a terrible habit of blowing her nose, casting the tissue aside on her desk and then reusing the same tissue, at times it was difficult to painting stomach contents.
We had an ABC meeting and we ended up sitting next to one another, we were crammed into this room and it wasn't ideal. Tissues aplenty were very close and it was quite awkward. I hadn't said anything at this point as I simply didn't know how to. The next day the meeting continues and I change seats, tadaaaa. The following day we're back at our desks and it all gets too much, tissues are everywhere and she's eating cereal, after chewing a mouthful she picks up the toothbrush, brushes teeth, rinse and repeat. I see the dirty brush with bits of cereal on it, I see it go back in and I almost crumble. I walk away to get a drink hoping that by the time I get back she's finished. She hasn't and I end up saying 'why are on earth are you brushing your teeth at your desk?!?' I said it too loudly, too aggressively and too unprofessionaly. I instantly regretted it and walked away.
I know I handled the situation incorrectly, we were in a public forum and I never should have said what I did how I did.
On Monday i have a meeting with my manager, this is to congratulate me on passing the probation. I thank him and say there's something else and explain what happened. He wasn't happy and put the emphasis on my making a mistake, says he'll talk to her about it and to not apologise yet.
With noting that she's a senior dev and has been there 4 years, compared to her I add very little value to the team, if any.
There were 4 people present when I made the mistake, myself, her, the friend and a principle engineer(although I'm not sure whether he said he was present or not as the manager changed his story a couple of times during the meeting)
We had a meeting earlier today, he basically said he would've ended my contract had he known about the incident before the verbal congrats. (It was me that told him about it, she, nor anyone else mentioned it) It was a long drawn out meeting but ultimately ended with him saying they will extend my probation for at least another 2 months, and that should they want to, they can fire me at any point within 2 years.
This is clearly concerning. I feel like I'm on borrowed time and that he will do what he can to find a reason to end my contract. We've had a discussion before when I first started about him wanting to get rid of someone and was finally able to when the opportunity arose and so I'm worried if the same will happen to me.
My question really is what I can do, if anything, to protect myself. I know I screwed up with the comment, I can't change that. If I'm unable to change him from pursuing my dismissal I'd at least like to be equipped with the knowledge to help me defend my case. He mentioned that he had spoken to HR and that this 2 year thing when they can dismiss people is viable. Aside from gross misconduct I thought that was not allowed?!
At the meeting nothing was signed, it was a '2 minute' informal chat. similarly I've also received nothing in writing to state I've passed my probation either. I started on the 1st June. I had a one month extension, this was hand delivered to me but it was also back dated by a week and not signed (it was handed to me after the 3 months were up, not sure if this is important / relevant).
Thanks for any help / advice.
Just to reiterate, I know I screwed up, I'd like to know what rights I have, also the rights of the company and whether this extension is allowed or whether... i don't know anymore, these 'serious' meetings have been quite 'fluffy'.
PS - The tags may not be the best, feel free to update if you think others are better suited, thank you.
I also work in the UK.