Can I have a probationary period when I hire someone?
Yes, an employer can have a probationary period when hiring a new employee. However, there are some requirements and restrictions. The Employment Standards Act permits employers to fire employees with no notice or compensation in lieu of notice within the first 3 months of the employment relationship. In order to take advantage of this, the employer must make sure that there is an employment contract in place, which clearly states the intent that there will be a probationary period and that, pursuant to the ESA, the employer may terminate the employment agreement without notice or compensation in lieu of notice within the first 3 months of the employment relationship. If there is no employment contract in place, or if the employment contract does not clearly state that there is a probationary period, then the employee is likely to be entitled to notice or compensation in lieu of notice if terminated, even if it is within the first three months of their employment.
As a cautionary note: even if there is an enforceable probationary period, an employer is still not allowed to terminate an employee due to forbidden grounds, such as those protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.