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University of Tennessee Knoxville-Area Human Resources Procedure 135

SUBJECT:                     Probationary Period

SECTION:                     100

PROCEDURE:              135



EFFECTIVE:                 7/26/2019


To provide procedures which document the performance of newly hired regular staff.

Who is affected:

All newly-hired regular staff.


All newly hired regular staff employees, including those converting from temporary or student to regular appointments, and limited duration (LDA) appointments, shall serve one probationary period of six calendar months in an active pay status with the university beginning with the first day of regular employment. The probationary period provides the employee an opportunity to determine whether the position meets his/her expectations, and the supervisor the ability to assess the employee’s qualifications, performance, and general suitability for successfully meeting the position’s requirements and standards. The initial evaluation is a time for open communication between both parties about what is going well and what needs improvement.

  1. Completion of Probationary Period – Because Tennessee is an at-will employment state, completion of the probationary period does not entitle an employee to remain employed by the university for any definite period of time. After an employee is hired, Human Resources-Records sends the supervisor of record a Probationary Period Performance Summary Form. The employee’s supervisor will complete the form toward the end of the six month probationary period, and note whether the employee will be retained or terminated. There is no extension of the probationary period.
  2. Re-employment Probationary Period – Any individual re-hired as a regular status employee shall serve a six month probationary period beginning with the date of re-employment.
  3. If an employee transfers to another university department or campus, they will not be required to complete an additional probationary period.
  4. Employees in their probationary period are not permitted to transfer without written permission from their supervisor.
  5. Unsuccessful Probationary Period: Termination – If the employee and his/her supervisor cannot resolve a specified area of dissatisfaction during the probationary period, the supervisor may terminate the employment relationship. Termination must occur before the end of the probationary period. Supervisors must first consult with Human Resources-Employee Relations before proceeding with any termination. Employees may be discharged without recourse during this time, and employees in the probationary period are not permitted to use the grievance procedure unless the issue involves alleged discrimination or they were terminated for gross misconduct. The department must initiate a termination e-form and will note the termination date on the Probationary Period Performance Review Summary Form.