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Three things employers must know before terminating a probationary employee

Article co-written & researched by Tyler Anthony

Probationary periods are a great opportunity for companies to assess the suitability a new employee has for the position they were hired for. If you discover an employee is not suitable for their role you have the ability to terminate the employment before their probationary period ends.

To avoid confusion on your duties as an employer, should this situation occur, we’ve outlined three things you need to be aware of when terminating a probationary employee, plus details on probationary period lengths and what employee entitlements are upon termination.

Three requirements for terminating a probationary employee

When terminating a probationary employee, the employer must show that:

  1. They gave the employee a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for the job;
  2. They decided that the employee was not suitable; and
  3. Their decision was based on an honest and fair assessment of the employee’s suitability, by considering character judgement, compatibility, reliability and future with the company, in addition to job skills and performance.

It’s also important to note that employers are not required to establish just cause if they determine an employee was unsuitable for the position.

What are probationary employees entitled to?

Upon termination, probationary employees are not entitled notice or pay in lieu of notice if their employment lasted less than 90 days.

How long can probationary periods be?

While there is no legal limit to how long a probationary period can be, the maximum length of probation until an employee is entitled to reasonable notice or termination pay is 90 days. Employers have the ability to set the length of the probationary period in their employment contracts.

If you have any questions about probationary periods or terminating during these periods, we highly recommend consulting with your legal counsel or talking to one of our team members. Get in touch with our legal team today.



Phone: 403.718.9877

Written by:

Claudius is an experienced commercial lawyer who specializes in acquisitions, financing, and securities law in relation to corporate commercial law.


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