Q & A Session – FCIP and Probationary Period


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I was employed by one agency and then transferred two and a half years later to another agency under the Federal Career Intern Program where I worked for almost two more years. Only a week prior to the elimination of FCIP, I was separated from the agency I had been working for. Didn’t I complete my probationary period requirements and doesn’t that protect me from being fired?


Your question is a complex one. However, you may have been required to serve a new probationary period with the second agency since you did not attain tenure at the first. Your time served towards completing your probationary period will only carry over from the first agency to the second agency if you perform the same or similar job. Even though both of these agencies are part of the same department, their functions are different and your job may be too. It seems as though a new probationary period may have started for you when you transferred to the other agency.

Furthermore, those employed under the FCIP program have little employment protection until they complete their probationary period, which may not be the case for you. At the time you were separated, most employees brought under FCIP were required to complete a two year probationary period. On March 1, 2011, the probationary period was reduced to one year, and FCIP employees who had completed more than one year in their probationary period were converted to the competitive service.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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