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Injured at work while still during your probationary period

Many workers who are hired by a new employer are placed under a probationary period, but young workers are more likely to experience this condition of their employment than those who are more experienced. A probationary period is generally a specific period of time — such as 30, 60 or 90 days — in which an employee is required to complete their job responsibilities while the employer evaluates their performance. 

Given the fact that probationary periods can be quite common in Colorado and throughout the country, it's important for workers to understand what the responsibilities and risks are of working under these conditions. Here's some commonly asked questions regarding probationary periods in the workplace and injuries that can occur during this critical time.

When are probationary periods put into effect?

Probationary periods are generally put into effect under specific circumstances, including:

  • When an employee is first hired by a company. Many employers place new employees under probationary periods in order to see if they will produce the high-quality work that they expect.
  • When an employee is being disciplined. In the event of a costly mistake in the workplace, an employer may place a worker on probation for a specific amount of time.
  • When an employee is promoted to a new position in which they will take on a leadership role. Some employers require new managers or supervisors to undergo a probationary period to determine if they are the right fit for the job. 

What are the benefits of a probationary period to an employer?

For an employer, a probationary period allows them to verify that an employee is up to the task of producing the work and results that they expect in a given position. It is a way for them to generate trust amongst new employees, to keep existing employees from ignoring standards and protocols and to verify that existing employees are qualified for promotions within the organization. It helps an employer determine whether an employee is the right fit for a specific position, or if they may be better suited to a different role. 

…And the benefits to the employee

For an employee, a probationary period can be a stressful experience. They know that they are being watched closely by their employers, and they know that even an inadvertent mistake can reflect poorly on them and prohibit them from keeping their position. However, probationary periods also give employees the opportunity to learn more about their role and to decide if it is the right fit for them. It can serve as a trial period not only for the employer, but for the employee as well.

Do employment laws apply to probationary employees?

A probationary period is an agreement between an employer and an employee, but it does not diminish the legal rights that a worker has in the workforce. Whether an employee is in a probationary period because they have recently been hired or they are being disciplined, they still have the same legal rights as any other worker in the organization. In the event that an employer disputes this fact, it is important to contact an attorney in Colorado who specializes in worker's rights and personal injury law.

What rights do you have during your probationary period?

As a probationary employee, you have the same rights as all other workers:

  • You have the right to safe work environment.
  • You have the right to receive training and equipment to protect you on the job.
  • You have a right to resources that will help you stay safe while working.
  • You have a right to contact a supervisor and report any concerns that you have about risks in the work place.

What to do if you are injured

If you are injured during your probationary period, you still have the same rights as any other worker. You should first report the incident to your immediate supervisor, and also seek out medical care for any injuries that have been sustained. You are still eligible for worker's compensation, and you should work with an experienced attorney who can help you make sure that you maximize your compensation package.

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