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Judgment No. 4212


The complaint is dismissed.


The complainant contests the decision to terminate his contract at the end of the probation period for unsatisfactory service.

Judgment keywords


probationary period; complaint dismissed

Considerations 4-5


[I]t is useful to recall that the purpose of probation is to permit an organization to assess the probationer’s suitability for a position. For this reason, the Tribunal has consistently recognized:
“[...] that a high degree of deference ought to be accorded to an organisation’s exercise of its discretion regarding decisions concerning probationary matters including the confirmation of appointment, the extensions of a probationary term, and the identification of its own interests and requirements. The Tribunal stated in Judgment 1418, under 6, that a discretionary decision of this kind will only be set aside ‘if taken without authority or in breach of a rule of form or of procedure, or if based on a mistake of fact or of law, or if some essential fact was overlooked, or if clearly mistaken conclusions were drawn from the facts, or if there was abuse of authority’. It also reaffirmed that ‘where the reason for refusal of confirmation is unsatisfactory performance, [it] will not replace the organisation’s assessment with its own.’”
(Judgment 2646, consideration 5; see also, for example, Judgments 3913, consideration 2, 3844, consideration 4, and 3085, consideration 23).
As well, an international organization’s obligations regarding a staff member’s probation period are well settled in the case law. For example, in Judgment 3866, consideration 5, the Tribunal observed:
“In Judgment 2788, consideration 1, the Tribunal identified the applicable principles as follows:
‘[I]t is useful to reiterate certain principles governing probation that are of particular relevance to the present case. Its purpose is to provide an organisation with an opportunity to assess an individual’s suitability for a position. In the course of making this assessment, an organisation must establish clear objectives against which performance will be assessed, provide the necessary guidance for the performance of the duties, identify in a timely fashion the unsatisfactory aspects of the performance so that remedial steps may be taken, and give a specific warning that the continued employment is in jeopardy (see Judgment 2529, under 15).’”
Lastly, as stated in Judgment 3678, consideration 1, a probationer is “entitled to have objectives set in advance so that she or he will know the yardstick by which future performance will be assessed”.


ILOAT Judgment(s): 1418, 2529, 2646, 2788, 3085, 3678, 3844, 3866, 3913


probationary period; judicial review; discretion

Last updated: 15.06.2020 ^ top