If you are placed on probation at work due to your manager finding you performing outside of their expectations. Can they terminate you simply for telling your coworkers?

Example As part of "probation improvement plan", employee is required to not disagree with team, and just accept whatever decisions the others make.

It seems like the probationary employee should be able to say, "our manager has asked me to be more agreeable and I'm currently on probabtion." It seems odd.

Any input is appreciated

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    Whether the request is legal or not, if you don't cooperate the probation is likely to end in your dismissal. Pick your battles. – keshlam Nov 1 '16 at 0:45
  • While your certainly within your right to share your on probation that also is the quickest way to find your no longer employed by ignoring a reasonable legal request from your manager – Donald Nov 1 '16 at 1:01
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    So you're expected to unconditionally agree with the team simply because you're on probation? That would have me looking for a new job regardless of the rest of this situation. – alroc Nov 1 '16 at 1:02
  • It's odd. Still, you are under a performance improvement plan. You'll need to comply or get dismissed right away. – WorkerDrone Nov 1 '16 at 11:40

If you have been put on a PIP and you're already nitpicking the terms, you have the wrong attitude to it. A PIP is usually preliminary to dismissal, any deviation from it gives the employer grounds. You should be looking for another job, not worrying about semantics.

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You need to get real. Because you are most likely just one incident away from losing your job and in addition, having a black mark on your record.

  1. Apparently, you haven't read your own employee manual. One of mine explicitly stated that I can be dismissed for insubordination.

  2. You haven't looked up the dictionary meaning of the word "insubordination" either. You were specifically, explicitly told not to mention let alone discuss the fact that you were put on probation with anyone at work but those who put you on probation. And you ask whether your contravening the specific instruction you were given and telling your co-workers that you are on probation can result in your termination? Why are you asking at this point, are you even listening to what your management is telling you? You are in a highly flammable situation, and you are playing with fire.

  3. An employee's personnel situation is a highly individual matter. It is a matter of protecting your privacy, same as any requirement from management that you don't mention your salary to your co-workers and compare notes about your salary with your co-workers. If you make public a matter that your management explicitly warned you about keeping private, then you take whatever consequences ensue.

  4. If you work in the United States, then you are subject to "employment at will" in all states except Montana. This means that you can be dismissed for any reason or no reason, except under very specific protected circumstances - the law bars your employer for firing you based on religious, racial, ethnic discrimination, for going on jury duty or for performing your duties in the National Guard, for example. If you are dismissed for insubordination, you are being dismissed for cause and that's what your current employer will state to your next employer should your next employer ask your current employer why you are no longer with your current employer. If you like being employable, don't have anything hanging over your head that alleges in writing that you exhibited some very poor judgement as a professional. Having in writing that that you were put on probation for subpar performance and dismissed for insubordination is a deadly one-two combination. Deadly to you.

  5. The terms of your probation requires you to go along and comply with whatever decision your team makes. In case you haven't caught on, once the team has made a decision, you are not to contest it. If the team is in the process of working out a decision, you are free to put in your two cents. Once the team has decided, this is it. Go along to get along. One more time: pay attention to what you are told, and follow your instructions exactly as stated to you. Otherwise, you will find yourself cleaning your desk in very short order.

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Your manager has deemed that some part of this interaction could harm the team's performance. I believe the term they'll prefer for that would be insubordination, and I'm not aware of any legal protections for simple (non-discriminatory) conversation as part of a job. That is just setting behavioral standards.

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  • 1
    So, telling your coworkers about your situation would be "insubordination", interesting. So, a manager could also fire you for "insubordination" if they specifically said you couldn't mention your salary to a coworker? Is that a correct analogy to what you mean? – Mr. Manager Nov 1 '16 at 1:45
  • That is correct. Hopefully one wouldn't find themselves in a situation so dire, but it's not unheard of. – user30031 Nov 1 '16 at 1:53
  • Not unheard of... and illegal in at least one European country. – nvoigt Nov 1 '16 at 7:42

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