Reason for terminating probationary employee

Termination process can be a little different
By Stuart Rudner
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/18/2018

Question: Does the employer have to provide a reason for termination to a probationary employee?

Answer: The short answer is no. The purpose of a probationary clause is to give both parties an opportunity to assess whether the employee is a good fit for the workplace. Contrary to popular belief, probationary terms are not implied in all contracts of employment. When hiring a new employee, employers who want to characterize the first several months of employment as a “probationary period” must have a probationary clause explicitly written in the employment contract. A probationary period will typically have a significant impact on an employee’s entitlements if her employment ends during this period.

The principles surrounding the interpretation and enforcement of a probationary clause in an employment agreement were dealt with in a relatively recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision, Nagribianko v. Select Wine Merchants Ltd. Justice Sanderson confirmed that, provided that a probationary employee is given “a fair opportunity to demonstrate suitability for permanent employment,” an employer is entitled to terminate the employment of a probationary employee without notice (beyond that required by statute) and without giving reasons.